On the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) announced that the COVID-19 Assessment Centre located at the Beechgrove Complex will close its doors later this month.
The health care agency said the closure is a result of declining COVID-19 PCR testing volumes, and, with other testing options available in the community, this location will close its doors for the final time on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.
According to a release from KHSC, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 Assessment Centre, managed by KHSC, has provided “safe and timely access” to COVID-19 PCR testing, on-site clinical assessments by nurses, paramedics and physicians, and access to COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations for Kingston and surrounding communities.
The Assessment Centre will remain open for PCR testing and COVID-19 vaccination needs for eligible individuals up to Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. After this date members of the general public are “encouraged to take advantage of the many community supports in place to help keep them protected against the virus,” KHSC said.
After its closure, if an eligible individual who works in a high-risk setting does not have access to a COVID-19 PCR test through their employer, they will be directed to select participating pharmacies that offer publicly-funded PCR testing at no cost, according to the release. Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits remain available to the public through participating grocery stores and pharmacies.
As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the region, vaccination remains one of the most effective ways to protect against the virus, KHSC stated, noting that all approved COVID-19 vaccines used in Canada are effective at helping to protect against severe illness, including hospitalization and death from COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines remain available to the public through Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health and participating pharmacies.
“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,” said Cindy Bolton, Director of the Assessment Centre and Community Partnerships. “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.”
At its peak, the COVID-19 Assessment Centre tested close to 1,000 people a day and has provided over 250,000 PCR tests, 20,000 COVID-19 vaccines and over 100 Paxlovid prescriptions, according to the release.
To book an appointment at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at the Beechgrove Complex before Feb. 24 for a vaccination, or PCR test, or to learn more about the eligibility requirements, click here.