BARRIE, ONT. -- The days of being swabbed from the warmth of your car at Barrie's COVID-19 testing centre on Sperling Drive are over.

Stella Johnson, Operations Director of RVH's Emergency Department, ICU, and COVID clinic explains that having staff outside for long hours in the cold and snow is not sustainable.

"We're seeing upwards of 450 patients a day. Volumes are increasing. And so (as) a way to keep our staff safe, our community safe, we're moving our testing indoors for the short winter months."

People arriving for a pre-booked test will be asked to park and go inside. Drive-thru tests will still be an option for people with mobility issues, some pre-op patients, and families with very young children.

There's an addition to the Sperling Drive site: The COVID-19, Cold and Flu Clinic.

"We're recognizing that some patients have symptoms that are matching COVID, but may not be COVID and may require further assessment by a doctor," Johnson says. "We're introducing one doctor to the clinic every day, seven days a week."

Johnson says the clinic isn't for people looking for routine care, but for individuals showing signs of coronavirus infection that might also be explained by the flu.

The COVID-19, Cold and Flu Clinic is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. COVID testing remains available 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., seven days a week.

The Sperling Drive and Innisfil testing sites are now using handheld devices that scan drivers' licences and health cards to speed up the registration.

The gadgets were first piloted at Orillia's Soldiers' Memorial Hospital and then added at Alliston's Stevenson Memorial Hospital.