Hospital no longer performing surveillance testing for COVID-19

COVID-19 Testing
Effective immediately, the Hospital’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre is implementing the guidelines set by Ontario Health.

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre supports the Provincial government’s decision to limit COVID-19 testing at assessment centres to those experiencing symptoms, vulnerable populations and contacts of known cases.

Effective immediately, the Hospital’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre is implementing the guidelines set by Ontario Health. Those who contact the Assessment Centre but do not have any symptoms, no known contact with an identified case and are not part of a high risk group such as health care workers, education workers or first responders, will be turned away in order to prioritize testing for those who really need it. Some exceptions will be applied, such as for those who require a test in order to visit a loved one who is in Long-Term Care.

“The health and safety of all patients, staff, professional staff, care partners and the community is our utmost priority,” said Dr. Zaki Ahmed, Chief of Staff and Medical Specialist for the Hospital’s COVID-19 response. “Appropriate testing for COVID-19 is an important aspect to limiting the spread of infection by allowing for the rapid identification and follow-up of individuals who have COVID-19. Based on the current status of the pandemic, limiting testing to only those who are experiencing symptoms or who have had exposure to a known case is a necessary adjustment in order to reduce the backlog of testing and wait times that are currently being experienced across the province, including our Hospital.”

Additionally, the Hospital’s Emergency Department will not perform COVID-19 swabs for patients unless they require admissions for respiratory or other illnesses indicating the need for COVID-19 testing. As such, community members are asked not to attend the Emergency Department as a testing alternative to the Assessment Centre.

The ability to perform COVID-19 surveillance testing for those who are asymptomatic will be reassessed as the pandemic continues to evolve.

Local residents who need to schedule a COVID-19 test due to symptoms or exposure (as determined by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit) may call the Assessment Centre at 807-935-8100.

Residents who have questions about COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolation and monitoring, or testing criteria, should still call the TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or toll free at 1-888-294-6630.

More information about the Hospital’s COVID-19 response can be found at