LONDON, ONT. -- The Oakridge Assessment Centre located on Valetta Street is experiencing longer than usual wait times for the third day in a row.

When the centre opened, the Middlesex-London Health Unit tweeted the wait time to be three hours.

“I’ve been stuck in line,” says Randy Dibblee, who needed a COVID-19 test ahead of surgery.

“You go to the Oakridge centre and they tell you to go around… you go around the whole neighbourhood and find the end of the line,” says Dibblee.

A week ago the wait times for the same assessment centre averaged 30 minutes.

Bill O’Shea, a neighbourhood resident is shaking his heads in disbelief, over the number of vehicles that line the streets and block roadways.

“It’s been pretty hectic, you know, we’ve had no traffic out here for the last four months…then all of a sudden on Monday.. It’s been overwhelming out here,” says O’shea.

To cut lines and wait times, people are asking assessment centres to implement online booking slots.

“Maybe you have to book 48 hours in advance, that’d be so much better than waiting two-three hours in line,” says an anonymous person in line.

An assessment centre in St. Thomas at the St. Thomas General Hospital has been appointment only since the beginning of the pandemic.

A spokesperson from the hospital says the assessment centre is appointment only due to low capacity.

Dr. Chris Mackie told an audience of The London Canadian Club that local assessment centres are designed for high volumes, but calls the centres ‘flooded’ and overburdened’ recently.

“We had very little testing capacity early on and now we are testing 700-800 patients a day in our assessment centres…it’s the inappropriate tests for the people who are worried that risks flooding the system as it does in healthcare anytime,” says Mackie.

The Middlesex-London health unit tweeted earlier today, that due to excessively high volumes.

“Patients requiring testing we will be prioritizing patients with symptoms, those who require testing for medical procedures and contacts of a case.”

Meanwhile in question period, London West NDP MPP Peggy Sattler urged the Ford government to quickly expand COVID-19 testing capacity.


“London’s COVID testing centres are completely overwhelmed. Our two assessment centres are seeing the longest line-ups in months, with people waiting four hours or more for a test,” said Sattler. “What is this government doing to reduce the risk and increase access to COVID tests in London?” Sattler asked.