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Grand River's COVID testing site seeing more students, parents

About a third of all people coming in to get tested at the Grand River COVID testing site are students

The number of students lining up to get tested at the Grand River COVID-19 testing site has been gradually going up since Monday.

Tal Kleiman, assistant manager of the site in the former downtown Kitchener bus terminal said they were expecting to see the surge in the number of visits to the drive thru testing centre once schools reopened.

"Capacity at our centre is 650-700. I think it was back in the summer that we saw the initial surge of students, so we're all ready and able to swab."

She said a large number of the people getting tested are students.

"I would say that about 35-40 per cent are students that are coming in now. There's been a steady increase. Everyday we see more and more students come in. Monday was high volume, and we are seeing that increase near the end of the week. Our highest volume to date has been 560 people, and about a third of those have been students, symptomatic or exposed."

Kleiman noted the drive-thru testing centre has a high capacity and they are not expecting to get overloaded anytime soon.

"This new location is quite large and we can accommodate a lot. We have really emphasised this in our workflow to be able to readily and really quickly provide testing."

She said all students coming to get tested have COVID-19 symptoms.

"Based on the guidelines that have changed, they need to have just one symptom now to get a test, so a majority of them are leaving school, parents are picking them up and they need to get tested before going back."

She said parents coming to get their children tested should come prepared.

"It can be quite a traumatizing experience for small children. So we recommend bringing a snack or something that they enjoy having with them as a comfort. We're here to support our community and we know it's a challenging time for students and for parents.

"We're all in this together, trying to do our best."

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