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Guelph COVID-19 assessment clinic hits maximum capacity on Day 1

Sees 115 people on its first day and has to cut the line off hours before closing time
20200317 covid screening ts 4
Guelph's COVID-19 screening centre opened on Tuesday. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday file photo

Guelph’s COVID-19 assessment centre had to cut the line off well before it closed on its first day of operation Tuesday.

The centre, located at 65 Delhi St., is open until 8 p.m., but on Day 1 there were enough people waiting in line that would max out what the centre could handle that day and others were told to come back tomorrow.

Public Health spokesperson Danny Williamson said the clinic saw 115 people on its first day.

“There isn’t a hard number in terms of maximum capacity, it’s more based on how long assessments are taken and they’re able to predict how many people they are going to be able to see.

“By the time they reached that time yesterday they had enough people there that they felt that it was going to take until when the clinic closed to get them all through,” Williamson said.

Different people take different times to assess, depending on their profile. It was estimated on Tuesday that it was taking up to 20 minutes to assess each individual.

“We don’t want to tell people not to come … we’re not turning folks away, we’re just seeing people as they come as capacity allows. We’re not turning people away at the clinic,” Williamson said.

The clinic is located at 65 Delhi St. and is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

Williamson said Tuesday was the first day and those operating the clinic, which is a collaboration between Public Health, Guelph General Hospital and the Guelph Family Health Team, are learning as they go.

“For everybody, this is an evolving situation, but they were really on the ball yesterday and I think everybody felt that it was as good of a first day as you could hope to see.”

Williamson wasn’t yet sure of where all the visitors were from or if people were attending the clinic from outside Public Health’s catchment area of Wellington and Dufferin counties.

Public Health urges people to use the online information and self-assessment tool found here before deciding if a trip to the assessment clinic is necessary.

Also follow these guidelines:

-If you have no symptoms, continue to monitor yourself and get information online from reliable sources.

-   If your symptoms are MILD, stay home and self-isolate. Use the self-assessment tool to help determine if you need to seek further care. Continue to monitor yourself and get information online from reliable sources.

-   If your symptoms are MODERATE with fever, cough or shortness of breath, call your family doctor to arrange an over-the-phone assessment. They may ask that you go to the clinic. If you are sent to the assessment clinic, you will be seen by a clinician who will provide further instruction. If it is determined you need to be tested, the clinician will make the arrangements.

-  If your symptoms are SEVERE and it is an emergency, please go to your nearest emergency room or call 911.


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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