COVID-19 Assessment Centre to close this month

Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) announced on Wednesday morning that the COVID-19 Assessment Centre located at the Beechgrove Complex will close its doors after February 24.

A media release from KHSC says a combination of declining PCR testing volumes and other available supports in the community has led to he decision to the close the location.

In the release, Director of the Assessment Centre and Community Partnerships Cindy Bolton said the Assessment Centre and its team have been flexible to fill the need in the community.

“Over the course of the pandemic the COVID-19 Assessment Centre has moved locations four times and, with partner support, ran satellite testing centres, drive throughs, pop ups and outreach testing in response to surging testing needs,” Bolton said.

“I am incredibly proud of our Assessment Centre team who have worked incredibly hard on the front lines throughout the pandemic to help protect our community.”

Individuals that have been eligible to use Beechgrove for publicly funded PCR testing include people with COVID symptoms over the age of 60, immunocompromised, or have a conditions that puts them at higher risk of severe COVID.

Those people, and those who work in a high-risk setting but don’t have access to PCR tests through their employer, will now have to look to the select pharmacies which offer them.

In Kingston that includes Bayridge Pharmacy, Ongwanada Pharmacy, Milford Pharmacy, Riverdale Pharmacy, and Shoppers Drug Mart Bayridge in addition to pharmacies in Amherstview, Napanee, and other surrounding towns.

For the general public, Rapid Antigen Tests remain available at no cost at a wide variety of pharmacies and grocery stores.

COVID-19 vaccinations also remain available through a variety of pharmacies.

At its busiest point, the COVID-19 Assessment Centre tested nearly 1000 people a day and has in total provided over 250,000 PCR tests, 20,000 COVID-19 vaccines and over 100 Paxlovid prescriptions. 

Vaccine and PCR tests can still be booked at the Assessment Centre until its closure on February 24.

The funding for the Assessment Centre was specific to its operation and KHSC will no longer receive it.