Limited availability for COVID-19 tests in Windsor just after the holidays

·3 min read
Demand for COVID-19 tests is up in Windsor on Tuesday, including at Windsor Regional Hospital's assessment centre. A spokesperson for the hospital said resources are also stretched right now.  (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)
Demand for COVID-19 tests is up in Windsor on Tuesday, including at Windsor Regional Hospital's assessment centre. A spokesperson for the hospital said resources are also stretched right now. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)

Availability for a COVID-19 test in Windsor is slim, just after the holidays.

As of Tuesday morning, the Windsor Regional Hospital COVID-19 assessment centre — which is by appointment only — had a 48-hour wait time to book an appointment.

The hospital's Paediatric Urgent Medical Assessment youth clinic at the Met campus had two slots available Tuesday with more on Wednesday of this week as of Tuesday morning.

"Demand is high for tests and resources are stretched right now," said manager of corporate communications, Steve Erwin, adding the hospital can only increase testing availability so much.

"The hospital is waiting to see if this week if there will be any changes from the province around who can be tested or who can't."

The Medical Laboratories of Windsor which provides free symptomatic COVID-19 testing by appointment, showed a wait time of until Sunday as of Tuesday morning for its Windsor location. There is some availability for walk-ins.

Vice-president of operations, Jennifer Yee, said they are expanding slots across their locations to meet the demand as early as tomorrow. Capacity will increase by 35 per cent on weekdays and approximately 40 per cent on weekends.

CBC
CBC

"We're seeing a lot of concerned patients," Yee told CBC News on Tuesday. "We're fully booked, all our appointments are being snatched up right away ... I think there's just such a big concern out there."

Yee explained some patients are worried they may have contracted the virus over the holidays, or due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

"Every appointment that we have has been taken, and we're also dealing with [human resources] issues," said Yee, explaining staff shortages are also due to the holidays.

Medical Laboratories has locations in Windsor, Lasalle and Leamington and soon Tecumseh offering symptomatic COVID-19 testing free of charge.

Local data on hold while Ontario sees 8,825 new cases Tuesday

The province reported another 8,825 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said as of Tuesday there are 491 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and 187 of them are in intensive care units.

Elliott shared the figures on Twitter Tuesday but government websites did not publish updated numbers of virus-related deaths or patients on ventilators because of the statutory holiday. Health experts warn that the real number of COVID-19 cases is likely to be much higher as a number of hospitals and centres have reached testing limits.

The Ministry of Health will be updating its website on Wednesday to include all COVID-19 data that had not been reported since Dec. 24.

Evan Mitsui/CBC
Evan Mitsui/CBC

Meanwhile, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit also put a pause on its daily updates until Wednesday, due to the holiday.

Last Thursday, the health unit reported 105 new cases and another death due to COVID-19. There had been two cases of the Omicron variant reported in the region at that point in time.

That was the final data released by public health until Dec. 29, when the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) will hold a COVID-19 media briefing.

Erie Shores HealthCare in Leamington has no testing slots until the weekend, as of Tuesday morning for the general population. Paedeatric testing slots are still available for Thursday.

Tests are also being offered for asymptomatic individuals at pharmacies, and the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre will be providing tests for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people, and their families, in Windsor.

More information about Windsor-Essex County Health Unit vaccine clinics can be found on the agency's website.

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