Third move for Saint John COVID-19 testing site causing confusion, says MLA

Saint John’s coronavirus testing centre has had a few homes since Horizon Health Network put it in place earlier this month.

Residents in the Saint John area who wished to be tested for COVID-19 were originally directed to Exhibition Park before the test site was relocated to the city’s north end.

Now, the testing location has been moved for the third time, based out of the Hope Wellness Centre on Saint John’s east side.

READ MORE: Coronavirus testing centre in Saint John changes location

Horizon health said the decision came after community feedback.

But Saint John Harbour MLA Gerry Lowe said the triple-relocation is “a source of confusion for many Saint John residents,” and questioned the choice of the Hope Wellness Centre as a screening site.

“It doesn’t make sense to move the testing site to the far end of town.”

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“People don’t know what’s going on,” Lowe says in a statement released Friday.

2:52Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick investigating 1st possible community spread case among 12 newly confirmed

Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick investigating 1st possible community spread case among 12 newly confirmed

The Hope Wellness Centre is located on Loch Lomond Road, near the airport. That’s about a 20-minute drive from the city’s uptown.

Jean Daigle, Community Vice President for Horizon Health Network, says the new spot is better suited for a larger operation as COVID-19 continues to spread.

“Horizon is closely monitoring the number of referrals presenting to this centre,” Daigle says, “and this information will be used to determine whether additional sites will be put in place.”

Lowe wants to see one place more centrally within the city.

READ MORE: New Brunswick confirms 7 additional COVID-19 cases, announces relief programs

“I know everyone involved in health care is working hard and trying their best at this difficult time,” said Lowe, “but people I talk to don’t think it makes much sense to put this testing site so far away.

“I hope Horizon takes another look at it for that reason.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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