“Effective immediately, our testing centres will be open to anyone with symptoms,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, chief medical health officer for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), during his Thursday (May 14) teleconference with regional media.
The EOHU has a complete list of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 on its website at www.eohu.ca/coronavirus. Dr. Roumeliotis noted that a person does not have to have all of the symptoms to come in for testing. A person who has just one symptom and wonders if it might be a sign of COVID-19 can go to their local EOHU assessment centre to find out.
When the EOHU set up the assessment centres in Hawkesbury, Casselman, Rockland, Winchester, Cornwall, and Akwesasne, the focus was first on testing “essential service” personnel, including health care staff, emergency responders, and people like cashiers and other frontline workers in grocery stores and other “essential service” businesses.
Now, Dr. Roumeliotis observed, the EOHU has reached the point where it can open up the assessment centres to the general public. The focus at present is on people who do have one or more symptoms that might be the result of COVID-19.
“Increased testing will be an important tool as we’re starting to open up activities in the community,” said Dr. Roumeliotis, referring to the launch of Phase One of the provincial economic restart plan. “It’s going to help us determine if there is an increase in COVID-19 cases, or if we’re able to keep the numbers down. This will help inform how we proceed with opening up in the weeks and months ahead.”
Dr. Roumeliotis also noted that it is not necessary to get a referral from Telehealth, but residents in the Five Counties region or the City of Cornwall should check with the EOHU about the appointment procedure for their local testing centre. The Rockland, Winchester and Akwesasne assessments centre will be closed on the May long weekend but the other ones in Hawkesbury, Casselman, and Cornwall will be open.