THUNDER BAY — A Thunder Bay medical clinic is stepping up to help families as well as other local health care professionals struggling to keep up with the demand for COVID-19 tests.
The Lakehead Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic this week will begin offering tests for children whose families are registered patients at the facility.
The clinic is located at the former McKellar Hospital site on Archibald Street.
Pam Delgaty, clinic director and lead nurse practitioner, said the clinic hopes to obtain about 100 swab kits by Tuesday, which would allow a drive-through test facility to be up and running by Wednesday or Thursday.
"We just decided to do this independently, to try to help out the demand on the paramedics trying to do the testing of the school-age children. So we were able to secure the swabs and we have the staff that's able to perform the swabs to try to get the school-age children looked after," Delgaty said in an interview.
Patients are required to phone the clinic to receive an appointment time.
Delgaty said the service will initially be available only for school-age children, "so the schools can keep running and everyone can still go to work," referring to the fact many parents must take time off to watch their children until they can get a test.
"There's certainly more demand than what's available right now and there's quite significant wait periods for people," she noted.
Delgaty said she believes everyone in the health care sector is trying to work together to address the problem, "so we're just trying to respond to the need we're seeing in the community."
The NorWest Community Health Centre clinic on Simpson Street also provides COVID-19 tests, but an official has said they are only available for its target population.