Confederation College site of COVID-19 Assessment Centre for student and school-related testing
by Maryanne Matthews
Today, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre announce that an alternative COVID-19 Assessment Centre site will be located at Confederation College and open for testing on Monday, October 5th.
Located in Confederation College’s Sibley Hall Residence Activity Room, the alternative COVID-19 Assessment Centre site improves access to COVID-19 testing for students, parents and families, teachers and other school personnel including bus drivers. The collaborative approach to establishing this centre is in response to the exceptionally high demand for testing that has arisen across the province since students returned to school.
The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Confederation College will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm as a walk-in service, with a limit of 150 clients per day. If/when the daily testing capacity is reached, a notice will be posted on the Hospital’s website and social media sites to alert the public. Appointments will not be required for those who are symptomatic, or a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, as determined by Thunder Bay District Health Unit. Those visiting this Assessment Centre should access it via the College’s William St. (east) entrance.
The COVID-19 Assessment Centre site at Confederation College is available ONLY to symptomatic students, parents or siblings, teachers, and other school personnel such as bus drivers. All other community members must call the Hospital’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre at 807-935-8100 to secure an appointment.
The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at the Hospital provides COVID-19 testing to those experiencing symptoms, vulnerable populations and individuals identified as having been exposed to COVID-19. People who do not fit into these groups and who have no symptoms or specific risk factors for COVID-19 do not require testing and will not be seen at either Assessment Centre location.
Superior North EMS will continue to provide testing in the community for children under the age of 4, as well as children and other community members with mobility or other challenges that make it difficult to attend an Assessment Centre.
The development was made possible through collaboration with many partners, including Ontario Health North, the North West Local Health Integration Network, Confederation College, Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU), Superior North EMS, Lakehead Public Schools, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, and CSDC des Aurores boréales.
“The health and safety of all patients, families, staff, professional staff and the community remains our Hospital’s utmost priority. Communities across the province are currently experiencing exceptionally high demands for COVID-19 testing, particularly in the last few weeks since students returned to school. The alternative COVID-19 Assessment Centre site was a collaborative effort that will help address backlogs caused by increased demand, and enhance our Hospital’s capacity to ensure all community members, patients, and staff have appropriate access to COVID-19 testing.”
Peter Voros, COVID-19 Incident Operations Section Head, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
“We are proud to play a role in expediting the process for much needed COVID-19 testing in our community. As fellow educators, we know how important it is to ensure students return to their learning as quickly as possible, with minimal interruption to their studies. It is equally important to ensure that teachers and other school personnel are able to do the same. We are pleased to join our longstanding health care and education partners to establish this assessment centre in support of increased access and reduced wait times.”
Kathleen Lynch, President, Confederation College
“Testing is an important part of the overall management of the pandemic in our area. I applaud the TBRSHC for their leadership with this Assessment Centre and ensuring access to testing for people who need this in Thunder Bay. I also acknowledge the Superior North EMS for the work they have done, and continue to do, in meeting the needs for testing, especially for children, in this community. Both these organizations have really stepped up in these challenging times and that is very much appreciated.”
Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health, Thunder Bay District Health Unit
“The new Assessment Centre is a welcome addition to our community’s collaborative COVID-19 testing strategy that will help address the backlog of student testing caused by extremely high demand. Superior EMS remains committed to helping meet the testing needs of students and schools and will continue to provide testing in the community for children under the age of four, as well as children with mobility or other challenges that make it difficult to attend an Assessment Centre. Having a separate Assessment Centre dedicated to the school system will also help to significantly improve our capacity for providing COVID-19 testing other at-risk populations in our community outside of the school system.”
Shane Muir, COVID-19 Task Force Manager, Superior North EMS
“I understand the pressures parents and guardians face when their child is feeling unwell. “Going home sick” has taken on a whole new meaning this year and I am thankful for an additional assessment centre to help expedite testing. This support to our educational community will inevitably ease the minds of students, parents, guardians and staff and contribute significantly to student success and well-being.”
Ian MacRae, Director of Education, Lakehead Public Schools
“The additional Assessment Centre will provide a further layer of safety for our students, but it will also play a vital role for our parents, guardians, Bus Drivers, Educators and Board staff. Not only will this assist in improving attendance for our learners, it will expedite testing wait times for staff, ensuring a safe return to work, to be reunited with the ones who depend on them.”
Pino Tassone, Director of Education, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board
“The new assessment centre will greatly benefit our students, their families and our staff. Reducing waiting times for COVID-19 testing will get our students back into the classroom faster, while ensuring our schools continue to be safe learning environments.”
Lucie Allaire, director of Education, CSDC des Aurores boréales