Demand for COVID-19 testing increasing outside Ottawa, with long lines in Casselman

There were long wait times and even longer lineups for COVID-19 testing in Casselman on Tuesday, as demand for tests skyrockets across the region.

Some people had to wait three to five hours to be tested at the drive-through testing centre. The centre has been open since the beginning of April but has been increasignly busy since school started, as more children needed tests.

By mid-afternoon Tuesday, it was so busy that staff had to start turning people away.

Nicole Laplante, director of health protection for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit says they are reaching their daily limit.

“Unfortunately, we do have some capacity issues at times. At one point today, we will be telling people that we won't be able to test them today. Usually we have a capacity of about 250, 300. But yesterday we had about 600 people show up.”

Average wait times are usually two and a half hours.

The centre is located at the EOHU’s Casselman office, at 872 Principale Street and runs Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

Testing demand is also high in Ottawa, where residents have complained of waits of as long as five hours to be tested at the COVID-19 assessment centre at the Brewer Arena.

According to the most recent figures from the Province of Ontario, five new positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit's region in the past 24 hours. There have been 217 total cases in the region since the pandemic began.