BARRIE -- The site of former Barrie Police Station on Sperling Drive could soon open as a new testing area with plans now in the works to open two new assessment centres in Barrie.

In recent weeks, demand has increased as people line up to get tested for the COVID-19 virus, some even showing up early as the lines are getting longer; many seeing wait times of up to five hours.

Officials with the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre say the return to school protocols have resulted in hundreds of students being tested, leading to the long waits in both Orilla and Barrie this week.

"Staff and kids, parents are all being instructed to come here if they do have that runny nose, those other symptoms that are similar to the COVID-19 symptoms," says RVH Operations Director Stella Johnson, "we are having patients come back positive with those symptoms."

She says the new centres could be open by the end of the month.

This is good news for the assessment centre on Huronia Road, which saw families lined up around the building on Wednesday.

The assessment centre is testing about 35 people an hour, which works out to more than 300 tests each day.

As the demand soon surges into flu season, there are plans to open a pop-up clinic with help from the County of Simcoe Paramedics.

"Bronchitis, a regular flu, strep throat, which we have been seeing a whole lot lately," says Dr. Amal Ghobrial at the Barrie Assessment Centre.

"Those are all patients that again will not be seen unfortunately in the walk-ins or by their family doctors."

RVH officials ask anyone seeking a test at Clinic C to book it online and ensure everyone being tested is registered ahead of time.