Clinic doctors will be able to provide COVID-19 testing in their facilities as soon as tomorrow evening.
The Manitoba government says they and Doctors Manitoba are working together to enable COVID-19 testing at community medical clinics. Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen says in the upcoming days a medical clinic in St. Vital will be the first community location with the ability to test for COVID-19 in Winnipeg. Previously Access Fort Garry Centre was a popup testing facility that has since closed.
"We are pleased to be partnering with Doctors Manitoba to provide Manitobans with yet another option to get tested,” Friesen says. "Having community-based doctors’ offices offering COVID-19 testing is another way in which we are boosting screening capacity in Manitoba."
Dakota Medical Centre at 17-845 Dakota Street will be the first community clinic under the most recent partnership to provide COVID-19 in their clinic. Friesen says the location will open for testing Tuesday evening. Dakota Medical Centre is a family doctor and is also a walk-in clinic.
There is a nearby COVID-19 testing clinic at 604 St. Mary’s Road.
Dr. Brent Roussin says that the first location was chosen with Doctors Manitoba after putting out the call for clinics and Dakota Medical fit the bill the best. Roussin says the location of the facility was irrelevant.
The province says public health is working with this clinic, as well as other unidentified participating clinics to separate COVID-19 testing patients from regular medical appointments. The separating of testing from regular appointments will be done by offering after-hours COVID-19 testing or by doing the testing in a different part of the clinic.
Dakota Medical says they will be opening their after-hours clinic as early as tomorrow. The facility is currently preparing for the addition of COVID-19 testing and says there will not be large changes to the facility.
The province says daily disinfection will be required. Dakota Medical says they will be ensuring patients are distancing in the facility. Staff will be wearing PPE.
"These measures will ensure clinics can provide testing separately while also providing safe, ongoing medical care for their existing patients," the province says in a statement.
The province says community clinic physician testing will focus on clinics that provide the capacity to parts of the province that need it and will open COVID-19 testing to more clinics as required.
“Doctors understand how important it is for Manitobans to have timely access to COVID-19 testing and that’s why physicians are stepping up to open their clinics to add more testing capacity,” Dr. Cory Baillie, president, Doctors Manitoba says. “Doctors Manitoba and the provincial government are working together to support medical clinics in offering testing, with all the necessary precautions in place.”
Red River College will be offering a "micro-credential training option" for those wanting to learn how to test for COVID-19.
"A range of providers including occupational health professionals, physiotherapists, health-care aides, students in health-care programs, foreign-trained nurses and doctors, and others are eligible to take the training," the province says.
The program is now taking applications and will be offering new intakes weekly.
The province will be rolling out an appointment-based system to test for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning. Manitobans will be able to call or go online to schedule an appointment.
An earlier release sent to CHVN on Monday morning stated COVID-19 testing appointments would be available in the upcoming few weeks. Hours later they released a second statement saying a scheduling system would be available Tuesday morning for select Winnipeg locations.