Expanded COVID-19 testing in Manitoba coming to doctors’ offices

WINNIPEG — The province is joining forces with Doctors Manitoba to work on expanding COVID-19 testing.

The testing could be done at community medical clinics by physicians.

“Having community-based doctors’ offices offering COVID-19 testing is another way in which we are boosting screening capacity in Manitoba,” said Cameron Friesen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living, in a news release.

The province said the first site to offer the testing will be Dakota Medical Centre, which is located at 17-845 Dakota St. in Winnipeg

Dr. Cory Baillie, the president of Doctors Manitoba, said the clinic will open on Tuesday for testing and operate from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, adding it will be appointment-based.

Winnipeggers and Manitobans can book an appointment on the clinic’s website.

“Doctors understand how important it is for Manitobans to have timely access to COVID-19 testing and that’s why physicians are stepping up to open their clinics to add more testing capacity,” said Baillie.

According to the province, Public Health is working with participating clinics to have proper guidelines in place to make sure the locations can provide safe services for people who are being tested for COVID-19 as well as medical care for patients.

Some of these guidelines include daily disinfection, proper PPE for staff, and separating testing from other appointments. This may include offering after-hours testing or separate testing areas of the clinic.

The government said the rollout of the expanded testing will focus on using clinics in areas of the province that need testing the most.

The province also announced the appointment system to book COVID-19 tests at testing sites will launch on Tuesday as well, starting in Winnipeg to help deal with the high demand for tests.

People will be able to make an appointment starting at 6 a.m. on Tuesday by calling 1-855-268-4318 or by going to the government’s website.

The appointments will originally be available for the following sites:

· 604 St. Mary’s Rd.;

· 2735 Pembina Hwy.; and

· 1181 Portage Ave.

The rest of the testing sites will remain first-come, first-serve.

Tests are expected to take five minutes for adults and 10 minutes for children. People are asked to arrive 10 minutes early to check-in.

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