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What to expect when getting tested: CMH

COVID-19 testing has since been opened up to both those who are symptomatic and asymptomatic
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Since Premier Doug Ford's weekend announcement, hospitals in the region have opened up their testing to the general public, symptomatic or not.

Before you head down to the nearest available assessment centre, there are some things you should keep in mind.

The Cambridge Memorial Hospital (CMH) assessment centre has been busy lately with the increased number of appointments, and they have some guidelines for people to follow to ensure appointments move quickly.

Rita Sharrat is the CMH Director of Emergency & Mental Health Programs. She is in charge of the hospital's assessment centre, which has seen up to 120 appointments scheduled in a day so far.

She says they strongly encourage people to book an appointment by phone or email before showing up. You can also speak with your primary care provider to determine whether you need care or testing, as some COVID-19 symptoms overlap with other ailments. A self-assessment tool is also available too.

"We prefer that, as well as for safety and social distancing. We really don't have a waiting room. We register patients from their cars, and then have them come in and out of the centre very quickly," she said.

The CMH is located at 700 Coronation Boulevard, with the testing and assessment centre located in the old wing of the hospital, where the old emergency department entrance is located. You can also identify the building by its Canadian flags hanging out front, as well as the large letters "C" and "D" on the side of the building.

The centre is located at the end of the drive, past the Wing C entrance, by the roundabout. Parking for the centre is located at the far end of the Visitor Lot #4, but you may park there as well.

Patients are to call the centre when you arrive (519-621-2333 ext. 2681), and someone will come out and register you in. Don't forget your health card.

The test itself is rather quick according to Sharrat. You sit up straight as a doctor sticks a long swab down your nostril, and swirls it around to collect a sample; repeat in the other nostril. The sample is then put into a reagent, and is sent off to the lab for testing. Patients are given a tissue afterward for any discomfort they may feel.

Sharrat says antibody tests for people who may have had COVID-19 already, is not available at the hospital at this time.

She says the testing and appointment centre has been running smoothly, despite the uptick in appointments, and that they've been managing it well so far.

To schedule an appointment at the CMH testing centre, call 519-621-2333 ext. 2689 or email

To schedule an appointment at the Grand River Hospital testing centre, call 519-749-4300 ext. 6824.

To schedule an appointment at the St. Mary's General Hospital testing centre, call 519-885-9517.

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