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COVID-19 Assessment Centre sees more than 200 per cent testing increase

More than 6,600 COVID-19 tests administered in November
03-18-2020-Covid-19AssessmentCentreJH01
James Hopkin/SooToday

Testing at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Sault Ste. Marie has increased by more than 200 per cent this month compared to last month, resulting in Sault Area Hospital (SAH) gathering more resources and its staff working extended hours in order to meet the high demand. 

SAH spokesperson Brandy Sharp Young told SooToday via email Friday that the COVID-19 Assessment Centre has tested over 6,600 individuals, including more than 2,100 children, since the beginning of November. 

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now using three laboratories - the Public Health Ontario lab, Health Sciences North lab and the lab at Sault Area Hospital - in order to manage the increased testing volume.

Sharp Young said COVID-19 Assessment Centre and SAH laboratory staff are working extended hours to support the increase in testing. 

The hospital has also increased its laboratory's daily COVID-19 testing capacity by 25 per cent through the purchase of an additional analyzer, and has secured additional resources with the help of Ontario Health North in order to temporarily expand capacity at the assessment centre.

“Sault Area Hospital thanks our community for their continued patience as our COVID-19 Assessment Centre Team manages the high demand for COVID-19 testing for our community,” Sharp Young told SooToday via email. 

SAH has completed over 58,500 tests since the hospital’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre opened its doors in March 2020.