New COVID-19 assessment centre opens in Mount Forest sportsplex

MOUNT FOREST – A new COVID-19 assessment centre is now open in Mount Forest.

The new centre, the first in Wellington County, was announced by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) on April 20.

The clinic is located at the Mount Forest sportsplex, at 850 Princess Street, and will operate from 10am to 6pm, from Tuesday to Saturday (it will close daily from 12:30 to 1:30pm).

“The collaborative approach within our region to expand testing for COVID-19 is key to tackling the virus and keeping residents of Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph safe,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, WDGPH Medical Officer of Health.

“It is important for all symptomatic people to get tested. While a referral from a health care provider helps manage assessment clinic resources, it is not required for testing.”

Officials say updated provincial testing guidelines is allowing them to expand “the assessment capacity and scope in our region” to include:

  • residents and workers within congregate living settings and institutions;
  • individuals in the same household as health care workers and first responders; and
  • essential workers and other priority populations (including individuals with frequent contact with the health care system).

Individuals who visit the new centre will be seen by a clinician who will provide further instruction, officials say, adding masks and hand sanitizer will be provided upon arrival.

Suzanne Trivers, executive director of the Mount Forest Family Health Team, said the team “is working with several partners to provide the assessment centre as a service.”

She added officials are hoping most people schedule an appointment by calling 519-323-0255 x5082, which will keep wait times “to a minimum.”

Stephen Street, president and CEO of North Wellington Health Care, stated increased testing “will help us to identify cases, allow our health care providers to treat and immediately isolate patients to prevent spread.

“Early testing also helps to identify anyone who came into contact with infected people so they too can be quickly treated.”

The Mount Forest location is the third assessment centre in the region. The others are in Guelph (151 Victoria Rd. N., 8am to 8pm daily) and Orangeville (140 Rolling Hills Drive, 9am to 5pm daily).

Getting tested

Public health officials announced on April 16 that local residents experiencing symptoms can now be tested right away for COVID-19.

The move was made in response to the Ministry of Health ramping up testing and updating criteria for who may be tested.

Previously officials had required a doctor’s referral, but public health is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to go to an assessment centre.

According to the new criteria, people should go to an assessment centre if they have at least one of the following: fever and/or new onset of cough or difficulty breathing – or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • chills;
  • muscle aches;
  • fatigue;
  • headache;
  • sore throat;
  • nasal congestion;
  • lost sense of smell or taste;
  • digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain); or
  • for young children and infants: sluggishness or lack of appetite.

Patients with severe symptoms should visit their nearest emergency room or call 911 immediately.

There is a self-assessment tool on the public health website that will give clear direction on what action to take given the presenting symptoms.

For more information on assessment sites and testing visit the WDGPH website.