MONTREAL -- A mobile medical clinic will begin patrolling downtown Montreal on Monday in an effort to bring care to vulnerable people without making them go far from their homes.

Maxim Ethier is part of the team of family doctors manning the clinic.

“We want to prevent patients at risk of complications from getting infected by COVID, so we found a way to increase access to medical services for these patients,” he said.

The mobile clinic comes equipped with an isolated patient area, a plexiglass divider with small hand openings for conducting physical exams and blood tests.

The clinic will run Monday to Friday for a total of 30 hours per week, offering appointments on location to those living in the downtown core. The service is free for seniors and those with heart, respiratory and autoimmune deficiencies.

Matthew Oughton, an infectious disease expert at McGill University, praised the initiative.

“Having healthcare comes to them is certainly ideal because otherwise you're going to wind up with a version of what we saw in CHSLDs, which are people that can't move anywhere and if they don't have their needs tended to, then we've seen what happens,” he said. “People can get very sick and people can sometimes die.”

Oughton added that a mobile clinic can help in monitoring at-risk groups, which could help cut down the future spread of the novel coronavirus.

Ethier said he's hoping to just keep people calm during a particularly anxious time.

“We're trying to be there, we're doing a lot of phone calls to reassure and there's a lot of anxiety at the moment because they're already worried about their health, their condition, their work, so we need to be a team surrounding them,” he said.