BREAKING | Changes coming to COVID testing in Niagara

covid test st. cath

Niagara Health is now prioritizing testing for those most at-risk for COVID-19 and changing the way it tests those who need it.

The Assessment Centres are following the advice of the Ontario government today by only testing those who have met one of four criteria.

• Showing COVID-19 symptoms;

• Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by their public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;

• A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by their local public health unit; and

• Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Testing at assessment centres will continue to be available on a limited basis for individuals who have no COVID symptoms, but are at greater risk due to their health condition or employment.

Testing at all three Niagara centres is moving to an appointment-only model beginning Monday, September 28 by calling 905-378-4647, ext. 42819 (4-CV19).

In the past week, 5,000 tests were conducted in Niagara, and over half of those were walk-ins. 

The centres are testing an average of 710 tests each day, but saw a record 879 patients to be tested on Wednesday. 

In August, the Assessment Centres completed 10,306 tests. By mid-day Wednesday of this week, testing surpassed that mark for the month of September.

“We are doing everything we can to test as many people as possible each day and appreciate the community’s understanding as this surge has resulted in longer than normal wait times,” said Derek McNally, Executive Vice President Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive. “Leading up to Monday, we strongly recommend calling ahead to book an appointment as it is still the most efficient way to be seen. While our teams will see walk-ins until the end of day on September 27, walk-ins are not guaranteed an immediate test.”

To book an appointment, call 905-378-4647, ext. 42819 (4-CV19). Staff at the Assessment Centre will return calls as soon as possible to schedule a date and time for testing.