Brewer Arena to become coronavirus screening centre
Ottawa is one of 6 community assessment centres to open in the province for patients to be assessed
The Brewer Arena in Old Ottawa South will serve as one of six provincial sites for screening and testing patients worried they might be ill with with coronavirus.
The complex should be ready to accept patients for assessments in the next couple of days, according to Ottawa Public Health officials.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said at a news conference in Ottawa Thursday morning that the province is setting up these assessments "so that people who want to be tested to see if they have COVID-19 can go to these separate assessment centres."
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, told CBC the centre will be run by local hospital staff who will assess people with mild symptoms worried they might have coronavirus, and — if needed — test them right there and then.
We're going to ask everyone to avoid the emergency room if they have mild symptoms.- Dr. Vera Etches
"They'll actually be swabbed on site if they meet the risk criteria," said Etches. "They can do the swab on site... the turnaround is within the day. This service is preferable to the emergency room. We're going to ask everyone to avoid the emergency room if they have mild symptoms."
On Thursday night Queensway Carleton Hospital said it had started a drive-thru trial test for COVID-19. In a tweet, the hospital said it could also help reduce the burden on emergency rooms.
QCH has a new way to efficiently test for possible COVID-19 cases. A drive through in front of ED will minimize wait times for patients who have been directed by <a href="https://twitter.com/ottawahealth?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ottawahealth</a> to come to hospital for screening for COVID-19 — and help keep Emergency for emergencies. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ottnews?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ottnews</a> <a href="https://t.co/jWlHf0WHOc">pic.twitter.com/jWlHf0WHOc</a>—@QCHOttawa
However, if people have serious symptoms — such as shortness of breath and a high fever — they should still go to the emergency room.
Close to hospitals
Workers melted the arena ice earlier this week and have since been cleaning and setting up the site.
Capital ward Coun. Shawn Menard, who represents the area, said Brewer Arena was chosen because it's in the core, close to hospitals, and has accessible parking.
The Brewer Pool will still be open while the arena is used as an assessment centre.