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The Western Star - 2020-03-25

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Ready for any surge

CLOSE TO HOME

DIANE CROCKER (With files from Frank Gale) diane.crocker@thewesternstar.com @western_star

Testing sites being set up at west coast arenas CORNER BROOK, N.L. — Western Health is ready to proceed with off-site COVID19 testing centres once demand exceeds its capacity for testing in people’s homes. Western Health confirmed last Friday morning testing locations will be set up at the Corner Brook Civic Centre parking lot and the Stephenville Dome. In an email, the health authority said it has been screening, testing and monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the community. “Currently, our public health system is capable to respond for requests for testing in people’s homes,” said the email. When that changes, the email said, the off-site testing centres are ready to be activated. Construction on a structure was started in Corner Brook last Wednesday. The structure at the civic centre parking lot in Corner Brook was being built around a Bay of Islands Volunteer Search and Rescue trailer. Western Health said the search and rescue group will be assisting with traffic flow in the parking lot. The testing station in Stephenville will be located inside Stephenville Dome. Mayor Tom Rose confirmed last week that Western Health had requested space in the foyer of the building. He said town council and administration has been preparing for it, and looking at best practices from measures recommended by the leadership of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador. However, Rose said the town will be taking its cues from Western Health and the provincial government. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province’s chief medical officer of health, was asked about plans to open testing centres, including possible drivethrus, during a media briefing last Thursday afternoon. “All the RHAs (regional health authorities) are looking at assessment and testing centres. Drive-thru models have been used in other jurisdictions and everything is under consideration at this time,” she said. “As soon as the regional health authorities are ready to go ahead with any type of assessment centres I’m confident the public will know.”

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