Renfrew County opens five permanent COVID-19 testing sites

A technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York's Long Island on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (AP / John Minchillo)

Five permanent drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites have been set up across Renfrew County, which is a move away from rotating clinics that have been ongoing since April. 

The five permanent sites are now open in Arnprior, Renfrew, Pembroke, Deep River and Barry's Bay, as Renfrew County Paramedics said testing has increased since the spring, including in more patients with symptoms, as opposed to six months ago when there were more asymptomatic tests. 

"At a minimum we'll being putting through 150 people a day," Renfrew County Chief Paramedic Mike Nolan said. 

"[Monday] we saw well in excess of 400 people swabbed by paramedics across the county."

The clinics will be open five days a week for six hours per day to help ease the increases in testing in the area, as well as provide peace of minds to parents as they go back to work or school," Nolan said. 

"And I think that we're starting to see the beginnings of the second wave, so I think people are a little more concerned about how they're feeling and want some answers."

Orion Kruse brought his daughter Katie to be tested Tuesday after she developed a sore throat and the pair were among hundreds of people who waited in line at the now permanent Pembroke site. 

"Considering the season and the back to school and everything, it's not unexpected," Kruse said of the one-hour wait. 

"It's an easy trade off for the security and knowing anybody else isn't in her bubble."

Pre-registration for the drive-thru testing sites is required by calling the Renfrew County Virtual Triage Assessment Centre at 1-844-727-6404. 

With files from CTV"s Dylan Dyson