Flu shots, expanding COVID-19 testing capacity discussed at Board of Health meeting
Lines formed outside the Oakridge Assessment Centre as early as 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. (Serena Braam / CTV London)
LONDON, ONT. -- The Middlesex-London Board of Health met for the first time Thursday since wait times and long lines have become an issue at the region’s assessment centres.
It was no surprise then that the meeting heavily focused on increasing testing capacity and staffing at the two assessment centres in London.
Since a community outbreak was declared over the weekend 28 students, the majority being Western students, have tested positive for Covid-19.
Long waits and lines have been consistently reported at the region’s assessment centres since then, often reaching testing capacity before the day is over.
Dr. Chris Mackie with the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) said they are looking at creating a site in Strathroy to make testing easier for people in that area.
“There’s work in partnership with the hospital in Strathroy to create a site that would be more accessible for people in that area and then beyond that, it’s really about supporting, encouraging and facilitating family practices across the region to take up testing,” said Mackie at the meeting.
Mackie says London’s assessment centres broke an all-time record yesterday for tests.
However, with increased staffing and capacity being a focus for the health unit, there is a concern by board members about how Covid needs will affect getting this year’s flu shot distributed in a timely manner.
The health unit team stressed it’s more important than ever this flu season for people to get vaccinated, but admit there are logistical challenges currently being sorted out.
“Many chronic care facilities are indicating they won’t have staffing or funding to support the sort of infrastructure that a high volume flu clinic would require so I think that at the same time we are seeing pharmacist willing to pick up the slack, so hopefully the system will balance out, but we are certainly working with partners to make sure that there is a plan in place,” said Mackie.
With reporting from CTV's Celine Zadorsky.