COVID-19 assessment centre in Fergus permanently closed

Since 2020 close to 38,000 patients accessed centre for testing, assessment, vaccines

FERGUS – The COVID-19 assessment centre in the old Groves hospital in Fergus is now permanently closed.

Since opening on Aug. 31, 2020, the centre saw 37,788 patients for PCR tests, respiratory assessments, and/or vaccines.

It was shut down on Dec. 1.

“Volumes have been really low for quite some time,” said Kate Kobbes, VP of clinical services and chief nursing executive with the Wellington Health Care Alliance (WHCA).

She attributed the trend to more strict criteria for PCR testing (only vulnerable/at-risk groups and those working in high-risk settings are now eligible) and alternative sites for testing, including public health, pharmacies, private labs and family physicians.

The COVID-19 assessment centre in Guelph recently announced it is now also treating those with a cold or flu, but Kobbes said that’s not an option in Fergus.

“We don’t have the manpower here to do that,” she told the Advertiser.

WHCA officials are thanking all those who helped operate the Fergus COVID-19 assessment clinic.

“In the first 18 months of the pandemic it was very important to have a standalone assessment centre,” said Kobbes.

The northern Wellington assessment centre, which had moved between Harriston and Mount Forest, was closed in August.

Anyone seeking a PCR test or other services offered at the centres can visit the Guelph centre, a primary care provider or a pharmacy, Kobbes said.