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Need a blood test appointment? Best to go online, LifeLabs says

Clients must line up outside Cambrian Mall location; appointment-only location near Sault Area Hospital best option for many

Challenges remain for LifeLabs clients at the organization’s Cambrian Mall location at 44 Great Northern Rd.

SooToday, on a quick visit to the location Wednesday morning, saw no line up, clients needing blood tests being admitted on a walk-in basis, greeted at the door by a concierge who asked them to wait in an area with a few, socially distanced chairs as the lab deals with COVID-19 restrictions.

But LifeLabs management told us clients will still have to wait outside during busier conditions in chilly January air.

However, an official said the lab is in discussions with Cambrian Mall management to allow clients to line up inside the mall as an exception on compassionate grounds, despite the current COVID state of emergency which has the city sealed up (with the exception of essential businesses and services).

While the Cambrian Mall LifeLabs location is currently a walk-in location, clients needing blood tests may still book an appointment with LifeLabs and have their needs met at the medical lab’s 773 Great Northern Rd. location. 

“While waiting outside in the cold I had witnessed quite a few people leave, such as elderly individuals who were unable to stand out in the cold, and a young mother with a baby who also left because of the cold,” a SooToday reader informed us in a recent email.

“Our LifeLabs locations in Sault Ste. Marie have undergone a few changes under our Public Health partners’ guidance to ensure the health and safety of our customers and staff. As part of our efforts to winterize our locations and reduce long lines and wait times, LifeLabs has temporarily converted select locations to appointment-only centres where staff can serve more customers and reduce wait times,” wrote Roy Saad, Toronto-based LifeLabs communications manager, in an email received Tuesday.

“Based on feedback, the LifeLabs location at the Cambrian Mall was converted to a walk-in only location to meet local needs. Due to the current measures in place resulting from the lockdown, customers visiting the LifeLabs location at the Cambrian Mall are unable to wait indoors, as the mall remains closed.”

“LifeLabs has increased its investments in the region and has hired and trained nine new team members to alleviate existing staffing shortages and respond to the increased demand for services. A number of these new employees have taken on the role of a greeter, or expediter, to swiftly process customers and triage vulnerable and/or elderly individuals waiting in line. Customers can also track estimated walk-in wait times online to determine the best time to visit us or book an appointment at our location on 773 Great Northern Road,” Saad wrote.