Testing for COVID-19 is ramping up in Sarnia-Lambton with the arrival of additional testing kits, the opening of a second assessment clinic in Petrolia, and an increase in paramedic home testing.
“We are delighted that we are able to quickly increase our ability to test the residents of Lambton County,” said Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health.
“With more kits being made available, we are in a great position to further identify and track this virus locally.
The Sarnia testing site, which opened March 14, could double its operations as soon as next week, Bluewater Health and Lambton Public Health said Thursday.
The Sarnia site has seen more than 470 patients so far and increased service based on referral demand.
The new Petrolia clinic will be located in the parking lot of the Central Lambton Family Health Team on Glenview Road, and will use some its space and staff.
Like the Sarnia site, it will be referral-based. Residents who feel sick will first contact their doctor or nurse practitioner.
Then, if appropriate, they will be referred to the clinic for testing.
The Petrolia service could open as early as Monday, officials said.
The new testing kits arriving from Ontario will also permit an expansion of in-home testing by paramedics.
Lambton EMS has tested 60 homebound residents to date, and the new mobile clinic will continue to test those who can’t travel.
“Bluewater Health was pleased to be among one of the first applicants granted permission to open a COVID-19 Assessment Clinic when this virus first hit,” said Mike Lapaine, President and CEO of Bluewater Health.
“Now that we can ramp up our testing, we are happy to be rolling out two more sites.
Dr. Ranade couldn’t say how many more test kits are coming to Sarnia-Lambton. But the additional supply will improve access in rural areas and retirement and long-term care homes, he said.
“Ideally, if we had all the tests in the world we would definitely want, at minimum, for anyone with symptoms to be tested, even if those symptoms were mild,” he said.
“Now we have enough tests to be able to potentially do things like that, and so we can expand.”