COVID-19 testing centre coming to University of Waterloo next month

Students and staff at the University of Waterloo will be able to get tested for COVID-19 on campus as of Oct. 1. President of St. Mary's hospital says it's hoped the centre will help free up more capacity at other centres in the region.

Centre may help relieve some of the pressure other testing centre are experiencing

(Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A new COVID-19 assessment centre is coming to the University of Waterloo in October.

The centre is set to open Oct. 1 and will be located at the schools health services building. It will only be available for students and university employees, the school said on its website.

Students and staff won't need a referral to get tested or assessed, but will need to make an appointment through the school's health services.

"As we work through the changing dynamic of the community's impact of COVID-19, it's really important to have alternative sources for testing and assessments," said Clark Baldwin, university medical director at UW.

The initiative is being led by the school's Campus Wellness and St. Mary's General Hospital.

Baldwin said the university will be assisting public health with contact tracing for university employees.

Lee Fairclough, president of St.Mary's General Hospital, said the on-campus centre will help free-up more capacity at other centres in the region, which have seen a surge in demand in the past weeks.

"We really planned for it because we knew there would likely be new a volume that we would need to service with students coming back to the area and living on campus," Fairclough said.

In addition to the new centre, Fairclough adds St. Mary's is also planning to extend its testing centre hours and has added additional capacity at other existing centres in the region.

"We have a huge surge at the centres and it's just what we expected as things are opening up a little bit more," she said.

"Our main interest is ensuring those who have symptoms and those who may be are high risk contacts, that we're able to see them."

On Wednesday, the drive-thru testing centre run by Grand River Hospital had to be closed as soon as it opened at 7:30 a.m. because there were hundreds of people waiting in the parking lot and nearby streets to get a test.


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