Manitoba

New mobile COVID-19 testing site opens in Winnipeg

Public health officials have opened a new COVID-19 testing site in Winnipeg in an effort to reduce the burden on other locations in the city.

Site at Portage Avenue and Wall Street includes portable washrooms

The new mobile COVID-19 test site is at 1181 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Public health officials have opened a new COVID-19 testing site in Winnipeg in an effort to reduce the burden on other locations in the city.

The new site opened Wednesday at 1181 Portage Ave., at the corner of Wall Street. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.

There are portable bathrooms at the new site. Residents near the Main Street drive-thru testing site have complained about people relieving themselves in back alleys or next to their cars while waiting hours for a test.

Mark Bernhardt, a spokesperson with Dynacare, says there were be two nurses at the collection site, plus an additional one to two nurses who will be there to help launch the site. 

The site will be able to test 80 people per day, he said. 

Despite the portable toilets, Pat Fraser, who lives near the new mobile site, told CBC News she thinks the facilities are inadequate, and she questions whether they will be adequately cleaned after each use.

Fraser would like to see the province open up the Robert Fletcher Building at the corner of Portage and Wall so people could use those bathrooms. 

Fraser also worries about traffic at the site making congestion in the area worse; parents of students at nearby Isaac Brock School are already dropping their kids off due to the ongoing bus driver strike in Winnipeg School Division. 

"Dropping off children at the school near Spruce Street is already hazardous," Fraser said.

The new site is a mobile facility. Once other drive-thru testing sites open in Winnipeg, the province will use public health information to determine where to deploy it next, if a community needs to quickly increase its testing capacity.

The new drive-thru sites will be on Regent Avenue W., on King Edward Street near Polo Park, and somewhere in the southern part of the city, provincial officials said in a news release. A fourth one may be added if needed.

Other drive-thru sites will open in Brandon, Winkler, Portage la Prairie and Dauphin in the coming weeks. 

With files from Aidan Geary and Cameron MacLean

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