Drive-thru, appointment-only COVID-19 testing sites open in Cote-Saint-Luc and Kahnawake
Published Thursday, March 26, 2020 9:33AM EDT Last Updated Monday, March 30, 2020 3:06PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites opened at the Cavendish Mall in Cote-Saint-Luc and at the Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre in Kahnawake on Sunday.
Both sites are by appointment only and meant for members of the respective communities. Information on setting up an appointment can be obtained by calling 1-877-644-4545 or 514-644-4545.
KMHC executive director Lisa Westaway said the site is meant to service community members only and that it is attached to the hospital to ensure a secure site.
“We all have some anxiety at the present time,” she said. “We worry about what's happening in our community, we want to protect our elders, so yes I would say that people are worried, and having a better idea about what's happening in that community will help lessen that fear.”
Officials braced for a rush at the Cavendish Mall parking lot on Sunday, but it was slower than expected.
“It's the first day and it's a rainy day. So perhaps it's a little slow for the first day, but they say that they can do 400 to 500 tests a day,” said Cote-Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein.
Some people showed up to the site without an appointment, though, and were turned away. With an appointment, the process is quick, said Francine Dupuis, associate CEO of the regional health board, the West-Central CIUSS.
“They come in and it's very very fast. They come in and they register in one booth, and then they go to the second booth, where they are tested in their car,” she explained.
Testing is performed from inside the car, with workers wearing protective equipment. An average test takes a little more than five minutes.
Cote-Saint-Luc has been identified at a hotspot for COVID-19, and it has the highest percentage of seniors in Quebec.
“We saw this coming. First of all we have the highest percentage of seniors, but we had snowbirds coming back. And we had a lot of religious gatherings, so we put in a lot of emergency measures,” said Brownstein.
“From our point of view, if we can identify more individuals in our community that have the virus and get them into self-isolation for 14 days, then we’ll be improving the safety of our residents by getting them off the street and out of our stores, which is what we want," he added.
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Brownstein adds streets are quiet in Cote-Saint-Luc as people take to self-isolation in their homes.
“Less and less people are going out, it’s getting quieter every day,” he said. “As the rules get more intense, people are following those rules respectively.”