Ottawa's first drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre is now open to the public.

The Ottawa Hospital, in partnership with Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa, opened the new COVID-19 drive-thru assessment centre at RCGT Park at 300 Coventry Road on Friday.

"This drive-in concept has been used effectively in other parts of Canada, the United States, and I’m very glad that we have that capacity here and that option for residents, they don’t even have to get out of their car, they just drive through get swabbed and get their results in a couple of days," said Mayor Jim Watson.

In a statement, the Champlain COVID-19 Response Committee described the assessment centre as "a drive-through-only site, and residents will be able to get tested for COVID-19 without leaving their cars."

Residents must book an appointment in advance of visiting the COVID-19 assessment centre at RCGT Park. As of Thursday afternoon, the Ottawa Public Health website shows residents can book appointments for Friday, Sept. 4 and Saturday, Sept. 5.

"When you arrive, you come through dedicated lanes, you first register on site, and then flow through where you do the test. So you’ll sit in your car, your window will get rolled down, and the staff of healthcare professionals will reach in and do the swab the same way they would at a testing centre," said Dr. Alan Forster, VP of innovation and quality at the Ottawa Hospital.

The drive-thru testing centre will be open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Here are the quick facts about the drive-thru COVID-19 assessment centre, provided by the Ottawa Hospital:

  • You will remain in your vehicle at all times during the COVID-19 testing process
  • An appointment must be booked in advance
  • A maximum of four people per vehicle can be tested. Every individual in the vehicle must have their own appointment booked for the same day.
  • Minors under the age of 14 will not be tested at the COVID-19 drive-thru assessment centre. CHEO will continue to test children at both the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena and the COVID-19 Care Clinics.

The online booking for the COVID-19 drive-thru assessment centre is available through the Ottawa Public Health website

The COVID-19 drive-thru assessment centre is only accessible by car.

According to the Ottawa Hospital Health website, once you arrive for your appointment you will be tested within 30 minutes.

The Champlain COVID-19 Response Committee says the new testing site will complement the existing Assessment Centre and Care Clinics in the city.

"This location will offer COVID-19 testing – there is no clinical assessment possible," said the statement from the Champlain COVID-19 Response Committee.

"Those who are symptomatic would be better going to the Care Clinics or the Brewer Assessment Centre."

Here is the information for the COVID-19 Assessment Centre and Care Clinics:

  • The COVID-19 assessment centre at 151 Brewer Way
  • The COVID-19 care clinic at 595 Moodie Dr.
  • The COVID-19 care clinic at 1485 Heron Rd.

"We need to have more points of access for testing, and I think this is part of it, it’s going to keep going, we’re going to have more options, we know that not everyone can drive and not everyone can get to a particular point," said medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches.

The Champlain COVID-19 Response Committee says more options are being explored to expand COVID-19 testing in Ottawa.