Long lines continue for COVID-19 testing at Brewer Park Arena

Hundreds of people again waited for hours Tuesday to be tested for COVID-19 at one of the city's testing centres located at Brewer Park Arena. 

“It’s been two hours and I think we have another two hours,” said parent Denis Baudin who was waiting in line with his three children. 

“I called my wife and I asked her to come,” he said. “I think she’s going to take them for a walk and bring more food hopefully because I’m out of food too!”

Health officials said they expected to see higher numbers with the return to school but the testing centre has seen record-setting volumes.

A joint statement from Ottawa Public Health, the Ottawa Hospital and CHEO says they have tripled their staffing levels with more staff being hired. There will also be extended hours at the centre, making testing possible for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“I think it’s kind of terrible and it it’s very soaky and wet,” said student Sienna who had come to be tested and was standing on the wet grass for hours. 

Ottawa Councillor Shawn Menard said porta-potties would be brought in for people in line, a tent would be put up on the south side of the arena, and officials are considering whether to make the Brewer Park Arena testing centre by appointment-only, like the drive-thru at RCGT Park. 

Many people in line also said that as the weather gets colder the long lines would be even more of a deterrent than they are now.

“I appreciate obviously the work everyone is doing, I know it’s not an easy situation, I think especially considering the number of children here hopefully another solution could be found,” said Meredith Anglin. 

Of the hundreds in line Tuesday morning, some were turned away moments after showing up. 

“We have the chairs we have the toys we have books, we have everything, we waited about five or 10 minutes and then someone who works here came along and said we weren’t going to be tested, they already had too many people,” John Scanlon.