If you're looking to get a COVID-19 test in Toronto, be prepared to wait in line for hours.
People are now sharing photos and videos of the long lineups in front of hospitals and testing centres around the city, including Toronto Western Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, Women's College Hospital and others.
Mount Sinai COVID assessment centre this morning. The line goes around the block, the Centre isn’t even open yet. Schools aren’t a factor yet. But sure, we need strip clubs and bars open. #Ontario #Toronto pic.twitter.com/uxRYvkbSr9— Sheema Minnis (@ShoooshK) September 16, 2020
While some people have pointed out that long lineups are inevitable as a second wave of the virus approaches, others are shocked that the wait time has been three to four hours.
The line ups at COVID-19 assessment centres in Toronto are big across the city as new cases have been over 200 for the last five days in Ontario. This line at Bathurst and Dundas is 155 people long and it takes 4 hours to get to the front. pic.twitter.com/kRkMvwlCj5— Steve Russell (@SteveRussell) September 15, 2020
People have even posted photos of lineups stretching multiple blocks.
For many residents, these lines have sparked health and safety concerns, not only for having to be around others who potentially have COVID-19, but also because there appears to be little physical distancing.
#COVID19 #TestingShambles #Toronto #2ndwave #COVID— NADIA DAWN DHAWAN (@itsnadiadawn) September 16, 2020
Ok four hour line ups with people this close together... if they didn't have Covid they have it now! People are sheep, you literally have to paint 2 meters apart on the pavement or do drive ins only! @JustinTrudeau @fordnation pic.twitter.com/gKazhJOUf2
"I stood in line for 2 hours this afternoon for a Covid-19 test, if I didn't have Covid before I probably do now," one person tweeted.
Times lapse of the line at Toronto Western’s #COVID19 Assessment Centre. Stretches from the doors at Dundas and wraps around Nassau. People near the front tell me they’ve been waiting for more than 3 hours today. #CovidTesting pic.twitter.com/96eOMwa3rY— Kate Cornick (@katecornick) September 15, 2020
Toronto resident Valeriia has attempted to get a COVID-19 test for two straight days with her husband and small child. On Monday, she tried to go to the drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre in Etobicoke around 4 p.m. but was told they were at capacity. She then went to St. Joseph's Hospital.
"The line probably was over one hundred people, so it wrapped around the hospital building, on the other side toward the Queensway. That's how long it was," Valeriia, who asked to use her first name only, told blogTO.
As a result, she and her family went home and decided to test their luck again on Tuesday. However, things weren't any better.
"We decided to come back in the morning to the Etobicoke drive-thru. We came at 7:58 a.m. and there were already over one hundred cars before us," she said, adding that the centre opens at 8 a.m.
"The first car drove into the tent at 8:40 a.m., so this has been very interesting."
I arrived at the Toronto Western Hospital COVID Assessment Centre at 11am (doors open at noon) and I was approx 50th in line. It is now 11:30am and I’d say over 200+ people now in line. pic.twitter.com/MCSFncrr14— Nick Iozzo (@nickiozzo) September 15, 2020
In response to these "ridiculous" lineups, Premier Doug Ford said on Tuesday that Ontario residents may soon be able to get tested at local pharmacies. This also prompted Mayor John Tory to call for hours at assessment centres to be extended.
There’s easily a hundred people in line for the #COVID19 testing centre at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto today. A person near the front told me he’d been in line for almost three hours. It took me over a minute just to walk from the back to the front. @680NEWS pic.twitter.com/hnUcb5s2ml— Mark Douglas (@Douglas680NEWS) September 15, 2020
"The good news here is that people are going to be tested. If they have concerns, if they have some symptoms, if they feel that they have been in touch with somebody with COVID-19 we want them to be tested. But they also deserve to be tested in a timely manner and we are aware that there are some significant lineups in many parts of Ontario," Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters on Tuesday.
Ontario currently has more than 45,000 COVID-19 cases while Toronto has more than 16,000.
by Tanja Saric via blogTO