The President of Doctors Manitoba says physicians who have been eager to help during the pandemic will soon have their chance.
On Tuesday evening at 6 p.m., Dakota Medical Centre will be the first location in Manitoba to be a regular testing site for COVID-19. Earlier in the year, ACCESS Fort Garry acted as a pop-up site but soon more clinics are opening their doors to patients.
Dr. Corey Baillie, president of Doctors Manitoba, says Dakota Medical Centre was the first to be approved by Shared Health.
"It is definitely important that we do all we can to flatten the curve. Physicians know that access to timely testing for COVID-19 will help us flatten the curve and hopefully help us, with time, to overcome the pandemic," Baillie says.
This clinic will operate after regular hours from 6 to 10 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
Hear more about how clinics could soon be opening their doors to COVID-19 testing:
Baillie says that the after-hours clinic is one model doctors can use, and others can create separate spaces for COVID testing. Patients of the clinic and COVID-19 testers will not interact.
"The clinics have been in touch with Public Health to ensure this is being done safely."
As the testing will create a larger demand, Baillie says some clinics who choose to do this may need to hire more staff. On Monday afternoon, Shared Health sent out a press release asking for more health care workers to join the fight against the virus.
The President says COVID-19 testing will not affect regular clinic patients.
"There should be no concerns at all. There is going to be appropriate PPE provided for clinic staff so that they can do the testing safely."
Clinics will be disinfecting the spaces regularly.
Baillie says more clinics may be opening their doors to COVID testing in the future.
"I expect that if this is successful, Doctors Manitoba and Manitoba health will continue to partner to make this more of an option for Manitobans."
The province says they will be releasing a COVID-19 test appointment system for some Winnipeg locations on Tuesday morning. Dakota Medical will be taking COVID-19 testing bookings online.
The doctor says that while there is the chance of more testing facilities to open, people need to take care of their health.
"I think the most important thing for Manitobans to do now is to make sure they are listening to Dr. Roussin's instructions: stay home when you are not well, ensure that you wash your hands, physical distance, wear a mask."
He says it is important for people to call Health Links or their doctor if they are feeling unwell.