COVID-19 testing at Brewer Park Arena moving to do-it-yourself testing system

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre for Adults at Brewer Park Arena is shifting to a do-it-yourself testing model.

Starting Monday, the assessment centre will distribute and collect do-it-yourself test kits, instead of performing in-person testing.

"The DIY model reduces interactions to keep assessment centre staff and patients as safe as possible during the current wave of COVID-19," said the Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce.

"This transition will also free up clinical staff who can then be redirected to support hospital shortages or vaccination efforts."

Residents who meet the current testing criteria can book an appointment to pick up the DIY test kit on the Ottawa Public Health site. When you pick up the PCR test kit, you can complete the test on-site, in the car or at home, then drop it back at the Brewer Arena for processing at the lab.

"Please note that the test kits are intended to be picked-up, completed and returned on the same day," said the task force. "The test solution has a short expiry period which means that the kits are not intended to be picked up and held onto for 'just in case' testing scenarios."

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre was the first COVID-19 testing centre to open in Ottawa back in March 2020.

The Ontario government changed the rules for qualifying for a PCR COVID-19 test.  Testing will only be recommended for people in the following groups, according to Ottawa Public Health.

Symptomatic people who fall into one of the following groups:

  • Patient-facing healthcare workers
  • Staff, volunteers, residents/inpatients, essential care providers, and visitors in highest risk settings, including hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and shelters
  • Household members of workers in highest risk settings
  • Temporary Foreign Workers in congregate living settings
  • Patients seeking emergency medical care, at the discretion of the treating clinician 
  • Pregnant people
  • First responders, including fire, police and paramedics
  • Elementary and secondary students and education staff who have received a PCR self-collection kit through their school

Symptomatic/asymptomatic people:

  • From First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities and individuals travelling into these communities for work
  • On admission/transfer to or from hospital or congregate living setting
  • Close contacts and people in the context of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in highest risk settings as directed by the local public health unit
  • Asymptomatic testing in hospital long-term care, retirement homes, and other congregate living settings and institutions as per provincial guidance and/or Directives, or as directed by public health units

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