Record turn out for mobile testing clinic

Mobile testing in Tilbury. July 2020. (Photo courtesy of the CKHA vis Twitter.)

Despite the extreme heat last week, a record number of people drove through the mobile testing clinic in Tilbury to get swabbed for COVID-19.

Lori Marshall, the president and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), said 457 people were swabbed at the clinic over the course of two days. Front line workers saw 281 people on July 9 and then 176 on July 10.

Marshall said the majority of people tested did not show COVID-19 symptoms, although there were a few that did. She said the reasons among those who were tested varied as some were concerned they had come in contact with a positive case, while others needed to provide proof of a negative test result.

“For some people, they want to go visit in long term care [facilities] and they know they need to have a negative result from a swab in order to be able to visit a loved one in long term care,” she said. “I would also say it’s the convenience factor of being able to stay in your car and go through the process.”

The drive-thru clinic in Tilbury was held in partnership with Chatham-Kent EMS, CK Public Health, the CKHA, and Tilbury District Family Health Team. Marshall said primary care providers have taken an active role in helping with various testing events.

Last week’s scorching temperatures did not make for favourable conditions for front line workers. However, they were able to get the job done while keeping their own safety in mind.

“They stayed well hydrated and they had the EMS trailer there for them to go in and be able to get some relief from the heat,” said Marshall.

The testing initiative in Tilbury comes shortly after clinics were held in Wallaceburg and Maraviantown, where hundred of swabs were processed. Marshall said the success seen so far in the number of people wanting to get tested is encouraging as they plan for future events.

“We anticipate that there are going to be large volumes coming through,” she said. “It’s been managed very efficiently and there are not long waits.”

Marshall said test results typically come in within 48 hours as capacity has increased across the province.

Mobile testing clinics will continue later this week on Thursday and Friday at Blenheim Memorial Arena from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. The testing initiative will move to Thamesville Area Public School on July 23 and 24.

Drive-thru clinics are planned to take place in Wheatly and Dresden in the near future, however, exact dates have not been set yet.

In the meantime, the assessment centre in Chatham remains open. People who are tested at the Chatham site are asked to book an appointment ahead of time.