Hamilton drive-thru COVID-19 testing site seeing 60 people per day


It’s not quite the same as a fast-food drive-thru, but the COVID-19 testing centre at the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena is as efficient as it gets.

Since Hamilton’s third testing site opened its doors a week ago, they’ve been testing about 60 people per day.

“We book every five minutes, and it takes about three and a half minutes for a client to come through,” said Laurel Turnbull, manager of nursing, complex care and quality improvement at the Hamilton Family Health Team.

The arena is functioning as a COVID-19 testing centre between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., seven days a week. The Hamilton Family Health Team and the McMaster Family Health Team are operating the site, which is staffed by primary care clinicians.

Jill Berridge, co-executive director of the McMaster Family Health Team, said the response to the unique method of testing has been overwhelmingly positive, especially from those who are being tested.

“They love the fact that they can stay in the comfort of their own car, and go through this process, and how quick it is,” said Berridge.

The mountain site is also testing those who don’t have a car. Elderly residents or those who rely on mobility devices are able to get a ride through DARTS, and anyone who may get to the arena by public transit can also simply walk around the track to the different stations.

It’s not as simple as turning up and getting tested, however. Appointments at the Hester Street location still need to be booked through a family doctor or Hamilton public health.

Berridge said most people understand that process, although a handful of people are still showing up on a daily basis without an appointment.

“But they’ve been very reasonable when we’ve asked them to go ahead and call public health and get an appointment to come back.”