A Toronto hospital has announced it will be opening a COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre as early next week.
According to the Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), in anticipation of an increase in COVID-19 cases in Toronto and community spread of the virus, it is opening the Assessment Centre in mid-March.
The hospital, located at 825 Coxwell Avenue, said that patients will be screened for travel and contact history and symptoms upon arrival to the centre, which will have a separate entrance from the rest of the building.
“Following screening, patients will be assessed by a physician and/or nurse and tested for COVID-19 if the assessment indicates that it is required,” it continued.
“Only patients who meet certain criteria will be tested for COVID-19. The test is similar to that of other respiratory illnesses and involves taking a sample from the back of the nasal cavity with a swab.”
It said that Toronto Public Health will follow up with those who test positive with results and further instruction will be provided within two days.
They are also asking that patients who do not have symptoms to stay away from visiting the COVID-19 Assessment Centre.
“Instead, contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.”
UPDATED: Learn more about plans underway to open a #COVID19 Community Assessment Centre in East Toronto in mid-March. Thank you to our partners for their continued collaboration, enabling us to move quickly to respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation: https://t.co/k2MHGgQwHd pic.twitter.com/KLC9NNSNip
— MGH / TEHN (@MGHToronto) March 9, 2020
The COVID-19 Assessment Centre is expected to open this month “depending on community need and coordination with public health officials.”
The new centre will be by appointment only and will open with limited hours; and this, the Hospital said, will be re-assessed as community demand changes.
“In addition, the centre will continue to explore other ways to provide rapid-testing for COVID-19 as cases increase; at a later stage, this may include a drive-through component as seen in other areas of the world,” added the MGH.
“The goal of the COVID-19 Screening and Assessment Centre is to build community capacity to respond to individuals experiencing possible symptoms of coronavirus infection; the centre will help maximize the availability of the emergency department for those who are most vulnerable and require acute care hospital services.”
So far patients have been screened at points of entry to the hospital, including in clinics and the Emergency Department, since the beginning of January.
“As we continue our planning and preparedness efforts, we remind community members that the best form of protection against COVID-19 and other similar illnesses is practicing good hand washing, avoiding touching your face and staying home if you are sick,” the Hospital stated in a post last week.