LONDON, ONT. -- On Monday we saw how London’s new COVID-19 Assessment Centre worked from the outside. On Tuesday, officials provided a look at the inside as demand appears to grow.

More than 100 cars lined Valletta Street before the centre at Oakridge Arena started doing assessments at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. That compares to 60 cars that gathered before opening on Monday.

Inside Oakridge Arena, health care professionals were getting ready for another day of assessments.

Murray Doucette, vice president of People and Culture for London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) says many of those conducting assessments have been pulled back into a profession they thought they had left behind.

“We’ve been reaching out to our retired, still certified nurses, or registered nurses, and we’ve been utilizing them. So out of the 20 we have, 16 individuals are retirees at this point.”

It’s another way to ensure front-line health care at hospitals, St. Joseph’s Urgent Care Centre and clinics aren’t being impacted.

Officials say on the first day of assessments 318 people were pre-screened in their vehicles and 68 went in the arena for secondary assessment. Five people were taken to Emergency or Urgent Care by ambulance.

But Emily Williams, director of Nursing Professional Practice and Patient Safety for LHSC, says none of those transfers were coronavirus-related.

“A patient presented with chest pain, typically had a cardiac history, cardiac underlying disease. Another patient had stroke-like symptoms. Those are just a couple of examples.”

Pre-screenings while people are still in their car determines if there’s need for further assessment. It’s a series of questions to determine if a person has shown signs of respiratory illness, been in contact with someone who may have come in contact with coronavirus or if they have travelled to an area where the virus has been widely spread.

They were the same questions media members had to answer before being allowed entrance to the secondary assessment area inside the arena.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Alex Summers continues to stress that a shortage of test swabs means many people with COVID-19 will go undiagnosed.

“We need to prioritize for those who need it the most, and right now those are our folks that need to be admitted to hospital.”

But he says the assessment is an important step and ensuring people are directed to self-isolate, a practice he continues to emphasize for everyone as the virus continues to spread.

Before media members were given a tour of the facility, politicians from all levels of government saw the centre, including Ward 8 Councillor Steve Lehman.

He admits he’s been fielding calls of concerns from some in the neighbourhood, “They were concerned about a number of infected, or sick people, in a mass concentration coming into the neighbourhood.”

But Lehman says, after seeing the way the assessment dentre is being run, he’s confident they’re concerns aren’t warranted.

And one other change, on Monday the police doing traffic control had no protective gear, on Tuesday the officer was a respirator mask.

Assessment centres to open in Grey-Bruce

Three more assessment centres are scheduled to open in the Grey-Bruce region this week to help take the pressure off local hospitals.

The first will open at Owen Sound Regional Hospital on Wednesday, with additional locations at Kincardine Hospital and Hanover & District Hospital opening Thursday.

Details about opening times, locations and who should visit the centres are available on the Public Health Grey Bruce website.