Demand at Chatham-Kent’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre has returned to normal numbers.
According to Lori Marshall, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance President and CEO, the number of people attending the Assessment Centre has lowered to around 100 people per day once again.
Since the Centre’s move to the St. Clair College Healthplex in Chatham, the Centre saw a noticeable increase once school started in September. The Centre saw a 100 percent increase in demand, reaching an average of around 200 people per day.
Marshall said she noticed a few recent changes at the provincial level have made a significant difference, leading to a lower number of people attending the Centre.
The province also changed its screening tool for students. Now, if a child has only one symptom, such as a runny nose or headache, they should stay home for at least 24 hours. Following 24 hours, if the symptoms are improving and they are well enough to return to school, they can do so without a COVID-19 test.
“In addition to the accessibility of pharmacies, the major change we’ve seen is the change in screening criteria from kids to be able to go back to school,” said Marshall. “I did a walk through the other day, and I think the booking is working well, and we’re hopeful the public will be appreciative of the move we’ve made.”
Local pharmacies across Ontario started offering free COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic individuals at the start of the month.
Marshall said the CKHA is also making some provisions to ensure everyone who urgently needs a test can get one in a timely fashion.
“We’ve made sure to set aside a few appointments every day so we can support public health if they identified someone who was either at risk or was a significant contact of another individual,” said Marshall. “I do believe that with the reduction in the numbers of people who are coming to the Assessment Centre, the overall wait time for our appointments should be reduced.”
She said her understanding is the current wait time for an appointment at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Chatham is two to three days at the most. Marshall said she is “happy to hear from any individuals who are exceeding those wait times.”
Marshall added appointments at the Assessment Centre should be limited to individuals showing possible COVID-19 symptoms while anyone who is asymptomatic should book an appointment at an approved pharmacy.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News