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Orillia's COVID-19 assessment clinic sees 85 people in opening 4 hours

About 90 per cent of visitors did not require further testing

Dozens of people took advantage of a new COVID-19 assessment clinic in Orillia within the first few hours it was open Thursday.

The centre, which sees people drive their vehicles onto Volunteer Drive, where they are assessed by a nurse while remaining in their vehicles, opened at 11 a.m. at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. By 3 p.m., 85 people had driven through.

The nurses determine, through their assessment of visitors' symptoms, whether further testing is needed.

All of the visitors spoke with a nurse. About 90 per cent “were able to go home without further testing,” said hospital president and CEO Carmine Stumpo.

Results for those who were sent for COVID-19 swabs are not yet in.

“The demand (for the clinic) was there from the first 10 minutes,” Stumpo said. “Sometimes people had to wait a little bit, but they were appreciative of the service.”

The hospital encourages people to make use of other resources before deciding to attend the clinic. There is an online self-assessment tool. Also, people can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to speak with a nurse.

Those who are “really sick,” Stumpo said, can go to the emergency room.

Volunteer Drive has been designated a one-way street for the time being. Drivers must enter from Mississaga Street.

The local clinic is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The last patient will be seen at 6:30 p.m.