Health Unit preparing for COVID-19 testing sites

WINCHESTER – The Winchester Lions Club building in Winchester will be one of six COVID-19 testing sites in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit service area, should it be needed.

The EOHU has been coordinating with local hospitals and municipalities to plan for testing sites. Currently no separate testing sites are open.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said that the testing centres are part of a plan to alleviate strain on local hospitals should the pandemic reach the Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry, Cornwall, Akwesasne, and Prescott-Russell areas.

“If we find that there is more spread within the community, the testing centres will change to being assessment centres to help treat those infected by COVID-19,” Roumeliotis said.

Winchester, Cornwall, and Alexandria will be the host locations in Cornwall and SDG. Hawkesbury and two other locations unannounced will be set up for Prescott-Russell.

The separate testing centres are part of a larger testing plan that includes Cornwall-SDG Paramedic Services.

Roumeliotis told reporters March 18th that paramedics have been trained on how to administer the testing for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). He said that the health unit planned on rolling out the at-home testing option soon.

So far, only two confirmed cases of COVID-19 have occurred in the EOHU region. Both people had returned from travel outside of Canada. Roumeliotis said that was a positive sign for the region that social distancing and self-isolation are working. But he said that he still believed there would be more cases in the coming weeks as snowbirds and other travellers return to Canada.

The US/Canada border will close at midnight March 21st to non-essential travel. Vital trade shipments, and Canadians returning by vehicle from the United States will still be permitted to cross the border. All people returning from overseas or US travel are required to self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Canada.

People who feel they may have symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to use the provincial diagnosing tool website at (, contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, or the Eastern Ontario Health Unit at (1-800-267-7120).


Since you’re here…

… Thanks for reading this article. Local news is important. We hope that you continue to support local news by reading The Leader, online and in print. Please consider subscribing to the print edition of the newspaper. Click here to subscribe today.