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New COVID-19 assessment centre at Rotary Place 'running very well'

Official says 'process is smooth with low wait times' and new appointment-based system is 'very well liked by all'

Two weeks ago, it was not uncommon for people to be idling in their vehicles on Mississaga Street, or a sidestreet, waiting for up to five hours to get a COVID-19 test at the drive-through assessment centre at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH).

But since the assessment centre has moved to Rotary Place and transitioned to an appointment-only service, people can get their tests now in less than a half hour.

“The assessment centre is running very well,” said Terry Dyni, the director of community relations for OSMH, adding officials are “getting positive feedback" from individuals attending the centre for testing. 

“The process is smooth with low wait times,” said Dyni. “People are often in and out in less than 30 minutes.”

He said “significant signage” has been put in place in and around Rotary Place, noting parking is ample and the dedicated entry and exit points are “working out as planned.”

Dyni said there are some “minor challenges” with logistics “including transporting supplies back and forth, and some computer and phone connections, but nothing major.” 

He said the same team that managed and staffed the centre at the hospital are looking after the new centre.

The new appointment system has been embraced by most people, he said.

“Yes, the appointment based system is very well liked by all. In most cases, people are able to book an appointment on the day of, or within 24 hours,” said Dyni.

He urges people to ensure they are eligible for a test before booking. He said “a good place to start” is the online COVID self-assessment tool.  

Since the move to Rotary Place and the change in testing criteria, about 250 people are getting tested each day, with fewer on weekends when the centre’s operating hours are reduced.

Prior to the move to appointments and when more liberal testing procedures were in place, up to 350 people were attending the centre at OSMH on a given day.

The assessment centre at Rotary Place is open from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Appointments can be booked online or by phone. Click here to book online anytime. The web link is also available on the COVID-19 page of the OSMH website, or the City of Orillia website.

Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of OrilliaMatters.com
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