Latest Ontario drive-thru flu clinic coming to North York next Saturday

A health care worker at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre's drive-thru COVID-19 assessment clinic in Barrie, Ont., registers people waiting. (Mike Arsalides/CTV News)

North York will be the latest area to have a drive-thru flu clinic, as the innovative approach to flu season continues to expand during this second wave of COVID-19. 

The North York Family Health Team has announced the clinic will go from 10 a.m. to 4. p.m. for the next four Saturdays, at the parking lot at 225 Duncan Mills Road, south of North York General Hospital. 

NYFHT Executive Director Sue Griffis says unlike places like pharmacies, no appointment is necessary. 

"There will be two drive-in lines, each line will have a nurse and a pharmacist waiting for them as they go through and then there will be a nurse at the 15-minutes post-assessment," she said, adding they hope it'll take 10 minutes before going to the 15-minute waiting area. 

The news comes as Toronto Public Health clinic appointments have been filling up very quickly since bookings began earlier this week, including to delays in booking one until mid-November.  

Griffis notes the plan is for the Saturday clinics to continue weather permitting, or until it gets too cold. 

This is the first drive-thru of the larger North York Ontario Health Team region, which covers roughly 500,000 people. 

Angie Saini, director of client care with Care First, a non-profit that works with the health team, said the clinic will hopefully ease some anxiety. 

"We know people are fearful, as we see these COVID-19 numbers going up, we know that there's going to be a lot of hospitalizations and admissions from the flu, we're trying to prevent that, so this is part of a multi-pronged strategy," she said. 

She added while they've finalized these initial drive-thrus in the area, they'll continue to try and scale up capacity to add more. 

Other parts of the province and the city have already begun drive-thrus, such as the Scarborough Health Network announcing it would be launching its own pilot.

Ontario reported another 841 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, which is higher than the seven-day average of 753.

It's the second highest one-day total to date, with 335 of them happening in Toronto. 

As or concerns over supply meeting demand, Health Minister Christine Elliott said there is no overall supply issue. 

"The shipments come in on set schedules from global manufacturers, so there may be temporary shortages in some physicians offices or nurse practitioners, as well as in some pharmacies, but it is only a temporary shortage," she said, adding there have been no reported delays in shipments. 

"The only real different this year is that more people want to receive the flu shot and that we're very encouraged by," she said. "For any Ontarian that wants to get a flu shot, they will be able to get a flu shot."