WINDSOR, ONT. -- Random drive-thru COVID-19 testing started Friday for anyone in the community looking to be tested.

Cars pulled in to the Silver City parking lot with Essex-Windsor EMS on site and various tents set up for people to receive the swab while sitting in their cars.

“We’ve got the Schulich School of Medicine here helping out. One of the runners will take your information, we’ll process it, get all our documentation lined up,” said Justin Lamers, Deputy Chief Essex Windsor EMS. “You get into one of three lanes and you get a Covid-19 test right inside of your car. You don’t have to get out.”

Lamers said all people needed to do was pull up with their health card in hand and their results will be made available online.

Alan Hodare who received a test Friday said he appreciated the drive-thru aspect of the testing.

“By doing in-car, that’s really a good idea because most people my age can’t stand in the sun for long periods of time,” he said.

windsor testing

In an effort for the drive thru testing to be “truly random” the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit did not disclose the location until Friday morning.

Essex residents Gary and Linda Mackenzie said they could see the lineup from Costco and decided to go ahead and get tested.

“Linda’s mother is elderly, she’s 96 and we just want to make sure we weren’t spreading it around or that we’re a carrier,” Gary said.

During Friday’s daily briefing, Dr. Wajid Ahmed said there were 23 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the region, 9 community cases and 14 in the agri-farm sector.

“Some people are nervous because they are scared of what it will feel like," said paramedic Krista Hillier who was administering tests. "They think it will hurt or something. Everybody is different,” she said.

EMS has been to long term care homes and out in the community and have been taught a specific technique as the virus “likes to hide deep in the nasal cavity,” Hillier said.

"Not a problem at all," Michael Hodare said after reciving the test. "My eyes didn't even water up!"

Windsor testing

“I could feel the swab going around in my nostril and it does feel if you got water up the nose,” said Lauri Bray.

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette campus has been offering testing to all in the community since Monday.

As of Friday morning, 16,734 tests have been done in Windsor-Essex, with 1,066 results pending.