A new COVID-19 testing centre has opened in the hardest hit Montreal neighbourhood.

Montreal North has become a hotbed for the virus. As of Friday the borough had 1,316 confirmed cases and a per capita rate of 1,562 cases per 100,000 people, the highest in the city.

The new testing facility on Maurice Duplessis Blvd. is part of an effort to determine just how bad the pandemic has gotten in the area.

After weeks of testing priority being given to frontline workers and residents of the city's long-term care facilities, tests are open to everyone, though an appointment is required.

Engineer Arash Ashaan said he went for a test to determine if a chronic sinus issue could be COVID-19.

“I didn't have a problem (getting an appointment),” he said. “It was recommended that I go and do the test. I called for an appointment two days ago and it was pretty straightforward.”

The borough is also distributing hundreds of face coverings, creating sanitary corridors and launching an information campaign through community groups such as Maison D'Haiti.

“We are working with a population that is very fragile because of their social status,” said Maison D'Haiti general director Marjorie Villefranche. “It's very important they get the right information.”