WINDSOR, ONT. -- There will soon be more options for COVID-19 testing in Windsor.

Windsor Regional Hospital, through the support and approval of Ontario Health, will be providing testing at the St. Clair College Sportsplex.

It starts with a two-day drive-thru testing blitz next week, followed by further testing inside the facility in September

Officials say the new site is responding to demand for tests ahead of September school openings and workers returning from summer vacation.

“We recognize that many individuals will be returning to their workplaces this fall and we anticipate a corresponding increase in demand for testing heading into September,” said WRH president David Musyj. “We hope that this drive-thru testing opportunity over a two-day period will be a welcome alternative to those who have been planning for a test before Labour Day.”

Hours for new location:

The drive-thru testing will take place on Monday, August 24 and Tuesday, August 25. Operating hours will be from 9 am to 4pm.

WRH also plans to use the inside of the Sportsplex for COVID-19 testing next month, starting Thursday, Sept. 3 and Friday, Sept. 4 from 9 am to 4 pm before the Labour Day weekend.

As of Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Sportsplex assessment centre will be open the same hours as the Ouellette Campus location -daily, from 8 am to 7 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.

The Sportsplex will continue to be used as WRH’s second COVID-19 Assessment Centre until a more permanent site is set up at Met Campus.

Plans for the Met site have been delayed by several weeks due to the unavailability of trailers to house patients and staff for testing.

WRH has been informed that these same trailers are required by schools across the Province for the start of the school year. WRH agreed to delay their procurement to allow schools initial access to the trailers. St Clair College immediately agreed to allow the St. Clair Sportsplex to be used as an interim testing centre until the Met Campus location is ready.

The Ouellette Campus COVID-19 Assessment Centre continues to operate adjacent to the Emergency Department. The future Met Campus Assessment Centre will also be located adjacent to an Emergency Department, outside of the east end of the campus.

“We believe it is important to have testing available close to the emergency room in the event an individual is requiring more urgent care,” Musyj said.“In advance of September, however, we felt a second option would be ideal for the community while we continue to prepare for a second assessment centre at Met Campus.”

More than 25,000 people have been swabbed for COVID-19 since the assessment centre at Ouellette Campus opened on March 16.

Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington also has an assessment centre. Its hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm and Saturday-Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm.

WRH officials say the St. Clair College property allows excellent road access for individuals seeking drive-thru testing on Aug. 24 and 25. Motorists can enter the campus from either the Talbot Rd. or Cabana Rd. entrances, with temporary signage directing drivers to a testing area adjacent to the Sportsplex.

The Sportsplex was also used from April 17 to June 13 to allow hospital staff to care for COVID-19 positive residents of Huron Terrace LTC until the last patient returned to the home.

“We very much appreciate the generosity demonstrated by our friends at St. Clair College. Our community is fortunate that they have accommodated our needs and partnered with us to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Musyj said.