KITCHENER -- COVID-19 testing in Brantford is moving from the Brantford General Hospital to the Civic Centre starting on Monday.

Testing will still be available at the hospital this weekend in the BGH D-Wing Assessment Centre. The centre is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with no walk-in patients accepted after 4 p.m.

The Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS) said the testing site at the hospital "has been under enormous pressure due to extremely high demand for COVID testing and appointment bookings."

“We are doing everything possible to ensure individuals who come to the BGH assessment centre can receive testing in a timely manner, and we understand the frustration people are experiencing caused by lengthy line ups and wait times,” Dr. David McNeil, president and CEO of BCHS, said in a news release. “There are contingencies in place to assist in our pandemic response, but sharp increases in demand for testing over the past number of days have put pressure on BCHS and hospitals all across Ontario.”

When testing operations move to the Brantford Civic Centre on Monday, the BCHS said it will offer longer operating hours, more staffing and an opportunity to book an appointment via email.

“We have been testing entire families and a large influx of people from other municipalities and that has put more pressure on our ability to serve the community,” McNeil said in the release. “We have put additional staff in place and extended the assessment hours to help deal with the increased demand.”

McNeil said he understands many people are frustrated by long lines and wait times for testing.

The clinic accepts walk-ins, but people are encouraged to book in advance by emailing or calling 519-751-5818.

Starting Monday, testing will be available at the Brantford Civic Centre between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

On Thursday, the provincial government announced restrictions for people seeking a COVID-19 test. Health officials said people should only go if they have symptoms, have been instructed to go for a test because they've been in contact with someone with COVID-19, or need a test in order to follow a specific guideline, like travelling or visiting a long-term care home.

Testing was available at some provincial pharmacies for people without symptoms starting on Friday, but there were no pharmacies in Brantford or Waterloo Region included in that list. Testing in those municipalities is expected to be available next week, the province announced Friday.