Michael Garron Hospital opens COVID-19 Assessment Centre to expand screening and testing capacity in East Toronto
Updated as of March 13, 2020.
(March 12, 2020) Toronto –Today, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) opened a COVID-19 Assessment Centre in anticipation of an increase in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Toronto. The Centre is located in an isolated clinic at the 825 Coxwell Avenue hospital site and has a designated, separate entrance off of Mortimer Avenue, west of the Emergency Department.
The goal of the COVID-19 Assessment Centre is to build community capacity to respond to individuals experiencing symptoms which could be caused by COVID-19 in East Toronto. The Centre is one of several planned in Toronto, and will help maximize the availability of the ED for those who are most vulnerable and require acute care hospital services.
“Thanks to the exceptional dedication and efforts of our hospital team, East Toronto Family Practice Network and community partners, we are taking this next important step to expand our ability to assess and screen patients for COVID-19 in East Toronto,” said Mark Fam, Vice President of Clinical Programs at MGH.
On March 2, MGH started the first phase of its plan to expand screening and testing capacity by establishing a dedicated COVID-19 Assessment Centre in its ED. On average, the Centre served about 5-10 patients each day for the first week, but now sees 20-25 patients per day, close to its maximum capacity of 30 patients at a time.
Now that COVID-19 cases are increasing across the province, and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic yesterday, the Ministry of Health directed several hospitals across Toronto and Ontario to expand capacity. In response, MGH now has an on-site dedicated COVID-19 Assessment Centre to support our East Toronto community. Established together with our East Toronto Family Practice Network and community care partners, this dedicated Assessment Centre offers close proximity to the hospital should patients require emergency care, with flexibility to expand on-site and across several other locations in East Toronto, to keep pace with the needs in the community.
How it works
Community members with potential COVID-19 symptoms (e.g. fever, new or worsening cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, runny nose, and joint aches), who feel they need to be assessed for COVID-19, should phone the Assessment Centre. On the call, patients will be screened for travel and contact history and symptoms, and guided to self-monitor, self-isolate at home, come to the Assessment Centre, or go to the Emergency Department.
The Assessment Centre is not open for walk-in visits. Please call ahead to book an appointment: 416-469-6858.
Patients that need to come to the Assessment Centre will be offered a booked appointment. This enables the hospital to provide the right care for patients, support the important principle of social distancing, and prevent unnecessary visits to the Assessment Centre or Emergency Department. Upon arrival to the Centre, following screening, patients will be assessed by a physician and/or nurse and tested for COVID-19 if the assessment indicates that it’s required.
Only patients who meet certain criteria will be tested for COVID-19. The test is similar to that of other respiratory illnesses and involves taking a sample from the back of the nasal cavity with a swab. Toronto Public Health will follow up with those who test positive for COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Assessment Centre is open daily from 12-8 p.m.
“With the support and commitment of the East Toronto Family Practice Network and our community care partners, we continue to explore different ways of expanding our testing capacity for COVID-19,” said Fam.
“This may include additional off-site locations in primary care centres around East Toronto to meet an even higher demand; as needed, the hospital may also open temporary, portable structures outside of the ED to assess patients.”
Accessing the COVID-19 Assessment Centre
The COVID-19 Assessment Centre cannot be accessed from inside of the Hospital. The entrance is located on the north side of the building off of Mortimer Avenue, west of the Emergency Department. Click here for more information about the Assessment Centre and its location.
PLEASE NOTE: Patients who do not have symptoms should not visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre. If you have travelled from anywhere else outside Canada , please monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after you arrive back in Canada. If you develop symptoms, please self isolate and contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
If you require urgent care, please visit an Emergency Department or call 911 and inform them of your travel and contact history and symptoms.
About Michael Garron Hospital
Nestled in the heart of East Toronto, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), is a vibrant community teaching hospital serving more than 400,000 people in 22 distinct neighbourhoods. For 90 years, MGH has delivered high-quality, patient-centred healthcare services to families along the continuum of care, from welcoming a new life to facing end-of-life. MGH has continually renewed its commitment to community by adapting its programs and services to meet the evolving needs of the diverse population it serves. MGH is a leading full-service hospital with strong community and research partners, including the University of Toronto. MGH is a founding and anchor partner of East Toronto Health Partners, one of the first of 24 Ontario Health Teams announced in the province last year.
Erica Di Maio
Manager, Corporate Communications
Michael Garron Hospital