Coronavirus assessment centre opens at Michael Garron Hospital

East York’s Michael Garron Hospital has opened a community assessment centre to test local residents displaying symptoms of the coronavirus.

This was to be done in mid-March in “anticipation of an increase in COVID-19 cases in Toronto and community spread of the virus,” according to a statement released by the hospital at 825 Coxwell Ave. last week.

“MGH now has an on-site dedicated COVID-19 Assessment Centre to support our East Toronto community,” a March 12 press release announces.

The centre has now opened in an isolated clinic with a separate entrance on Mortimer Avenue, west of the hospital’s emergency department.

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Michael Garron Hospital first established a COVID-19 assessment centre with an expanded screening and testing capacity on March 2. The Centre served about five to 10 patients daily for the first week, but now sees 20–25 per day, close to its maximum capacity of 30 patients, MGH reported.

“Thanks to the exceptional dedication and efforts of our hospital team, East Toronto Family Practice Network and community partners, we are taking this next important step to expand our ability to assess and screen patients for COVID-19 in East Toronto,” said Mark Fam, vice president of clinical programs, in the latest press release.

The release also includes photos of the new centre and and a video clip discussing the centre, provided by the hospital.

Michael Garron video
EXPANSION: Hospital will extend coronavirus assessment services to meet the demand, says Mark Fam, vice president of clinical programs, in video interview provided by Michael Garron Hospital.

The centre is to be open from 4 to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, to begin with. “As we see community demand increase, we’ll expand those hours, operate it seven days a week, and to expand services as needed,” said Fam in the video interview.

“By having the COVID-19 assessment centre here on site at the hospital but isolated from the rest of our care it lets individuals come in, get assess for COVID-19 and if they need more urgent care we can bring them directly into the emergency care,” Fam said.

Future expansions of the service to meet growing demand could include off-site locations in primary care centres around East Toronto, as well as temporary, portable structures outside of the emergency department to assess patients, Fam said.

Room at Michael Garron assessment centre
ROOM SERVICE: The coronavirus assessment centre is available for patients showing symptoms, although appointment is by phone only.

The centre is testing only those patients who have been screened for travel and contact history and for symptoms at the centre’s separate entrance and have been assessed by medical staff.

Access to the centre is by appointment only. It is not open for walk-in visits. Community members with symptoms — including fever, new or worsening cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, runny nose, and joint aches — who feel they need to be assessed for COVID-19, should phone the assessment centre at 416-469-6858.

Anyone who is not displaying symptoms and is concerned they may have been supposed to COVID-19 should instead contact their healthcare provider or Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.