'Like a little lottery': New concerns at Waterloo Region’s COVID-19 testing centres
KITCHENER -- A sharp increase in demand has created new concerns for those looking to get a COVID-19 test in Waterloo Region.
Kent Tatton arrived at the drive-thru testing centre on Glasgow Street in Kitchener around 7:45 a.m. on Sunday.
By 11 a.m., he had spent over two hours waiting down the street to get into line for a test.
“It was pretty much luck,” said Tatton. “It was kind of like a little lottery almost.
“I’d be waiting, I’d leave, and then they’d let people in. I was like ‘oh I must have just missed the entrance or something like that.’”
Katrina Wood was also trying to get a test, told to come back in 30 minutes, and waited in a Tim Hortons’ parking lot to do so.
Sean McCloskey and Georgina Pitkanen, however, were able to join into the long line right away when they arrived at 8 a.m.
Grand River Hospital, which runs the site, says there is only so much space once the drive-thru and overflow parking lot are full. They are not allowed to accept anyone else until it has been cleared out.
They add that if it’s full when a person arrives, they’ll have to come back later.
Alternative testing sites are available, but require appointments booked days in advance.
The St. Mary’s testing clinic on Bathurst Drive, the only other walk-in option in the area, is also having an issue of long lines.
“I’ve been here since 12:30 p.m. and it’s about a 3:15 p.m. now,” said Rod Rockel. “We’re about 15 people from the front of the line.
“Should have brought a book. That would have been the wise thing to do.”
St. Mary’s says they will do their best to accommodate, but suggest those still waiting at a point later in the afternoon to book an appointment or come back later.
Ontario premier Doug is expected to unveil a testing plan next week that would allow asymptomatic testing at pharmacies, is promising ten more pop up centres, and is looking to extend hours at current sites.