Pandemic test numbers up at Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena:Drive-through COVID-19 assessment centre swabbing 250 people per day

More people are taking advantage of the drive-through coronavirus testing centre at the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena.

Laurel Turnbull, manager of nursing, complex care and quality improvement with the Hamilton Family Health Team, noted June 22 was their busiest day since they began on April 17 as 298 people had their noses swabbed by nurses decked out in full protective coverings.

“We were busy, busy, especially in the heat,” Turnbull said.

As of June 17, 8,115 people have been tested at the Hester Street rink and of those 122, or 1.5 per cent, tested positive for the virus.

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Turnbull said they had been averaging 175 people per day but that jumped to about 250 after the province announced on May 29 that people no longer needed a referral to access a testing centre.

“We are currently taking walk-ins, but we prefer you call ahead for an appointment,” Turnbull said.

An appointment can be made through your family doctor or by calling the Hamilton Public Health Services’ COVID-19 hotline at 905-974-9848.

The City of Hamilton tweeted COVID-19 testing is available for:

• People with one symptom, even if mild;

• People with no symptoms who are concerned they’ve been exposed; and

• Essential workers.

Turnbull noted people coming to the arena without an appointment must get out of their vehicle and line up to be processed before they can drive through.

For those with an appointment the process is much faster, and they can stay in their car.

“It’s literally two minutes,” she said.

Turnbull said it costs about $75,000 a month to run the testing centre at the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena and the cost is being covered by the Hamilton Family Health Team, McMaster Family Health Team and Compass Community Health.

Public hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for staff) seven days a week.