COVID-19 testing centres remain steady across Simcoe Muskoka
BARRIE, ONT. -- After months of long lines and even longer delays for results, things are running smoothly at COVID-19 assessment centres.
Tessia Ladas and Murray Schwartz lined up outside Barrie's Huronia Road assessment centre on Wednesday for less than five minutes.
Schwartz said they were going on a trip to Costa Rica, "and we need to get tested before we go."
The pair falls under the provincial government's new testing criteria implemented back in September to curb long lines.
In the last 24 hours, the province reported just over 30,000 tests were completed with 834 new infections, putting the positivity rate at 2.8 per cent.
Simcoe Muskoka's medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner, said several factors could explain the lack of testing and increased positivity rate.
"It could be due to the province's criteria that focuses on those with symptoms and those who have been in contact with a case, and those part of an outbreak," Gardner said.
Despite the drop in provincial testing, COVID centres across Simcoe Muskoka continue to be busy.
Stella Johnson, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre's emergency department director, said numbers have been on a steady incline.
"Well, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week are higher than the same period we saw about a month ago. So we are still seeing about 300 patients per day."
Dr. Tom Yokogawa at the Huronia Road testing centre is noticing a similar trend. "I think we are increasing the number of people coming in now that people know we are accepting people online, plus walk-in."
And although testing centres are steady with appointments, the results are coming back fast. "We are seeing results coming back in less than 24 hours, reliably," Johnson said.
Click here to find a COVID assessment centre and book an appointment.