Kitchener-Waterloo

Take COVID-19 testing out of Ontario hospital ERs, Waterloo MPP says

Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife says the province should do more to move screening tests for COVID-19 out of hospital emergency rooms. She says she's heard from local doctors who worry the practice puts patients with other health concerns at risk.

Doing coronavirus screenings in hospitals puts patients with other health concerns at risk: Fife

During question period at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday, Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife called on the province to move COVID-19 testing out of hospital emergency rooms. She says she's heard from doctors in Waterloo region who are concerned patients with other health concerns are being put at risk. (Legislative Assembly of Ontario/ola.org)

Testing for the coronavirus needs to be taken out of hospital emergency rooms and done in a separate location, says Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife.

During question period at Queen's Park on Tuesday, Fife said she had heard from two doctors in Kitchener who wanted COVID-19 screening taken out of local emergency departments.

"Individuals who require testing are taken through acute areas of the emergency room to reach the screening area," Fife said.

"To quote the emergency physician: 'We know COVID-19 will kill the eldest and the sickest patients in a higher amount than the general population. So when your grandmother goes to the emergency room for a fainting spell, she is putting herself at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 purely because she is in the location where patients are forced to be screened."

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province is working with hospitals and healthcare workers to have "appropriate test centres."

"We are receiving applications from centres that want to continue to do the testing if it's not appropriate at certain hospitals," Elliott said. "Of course we want to make sure that people are kept safe and are not exposed inadvertently to the COVID-19 virus."

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