Mount Sinai COVID Assessment Center this morning. The line goes around the block, the Center is not even open yet. Schools are not yet a factor. But of course we need open strip clubs and bars. #Ontario #Toronto pic.twitter.com/uxRYvkbSr9
– Sheema Minnis (hoShoooshK) 16 September 2020
While some people have pointed out that long queues are inevitable as a second wave of the virus approaches, others are shocked that the wait time has been three to four hours.
Queues at COVID-19 assessment centers in Toronto are high across the city, as new cases have surpassed 200 in the past five days in Ontario. This line to Bathurst and Dundas has 155 people and it takes 4 hours to get to the front. pic.twitter.com/kRkMvwlCj5
– Steve Russell (@SteveRussell) 15 septembre 2020
People even posted pictures of queues spanning multiple blocks.
I fell ill with worrying symptoms. The centerline of the test is already made up of several blocks here in #Toronto. pic.twitter.com/CGZNDT63BE
– SaltRaven (Ghost King in Games) (@thesaltraven) September 16, 2020
For many residents, these lines have created health and safety concerns, not only for having to be with other people potentially with COVID-19, but also because there appears to be little physical distance.
# COVID19 #TestingShambles #Toronto # 2ndwave #COVID
Ok four hours in line with people so close to each other… if they didn’t have Covid, they have it now! People are sheep, you literally have to paint 2 meters apart on the sidewalk or just drive! @JustinTrudeau @fordnation pic.twitter.com/gKazhJOUf2
– NADIA DAWN DHAWAN (@itsnadiadawn) 16 septembre 2020
“I stood in line for 2 hours this afternoon for a Covid-19 test, if I didn’t have Covid before probably now,” one person tweeted.
Time out of line at Toronto Western # COVID19 Assessment Center. Extends from the gates of Dundas and wraps around Nassau. People near the front tell me they have been waiting for over 3 hours today. #CovidTesting pic.twitter.com/96eOMwa3rY
– Kate Cornick (@katecornick) 15 septembre 2020
Valeriia, a resident of Toronto, has attempted to take a COVID-19 test for two consecutive days with her husband and small child. On Monday, she tried to drive to the COVID-19 test center in Etobicoke around 4 p.m. but was told they were at full capacity. She then went to St. Joseph’s Hospital.
“The queue was probably over a hundred people, so it wrapped around the hospital building on the other side towards the Queensway. That’s how long it lasted, ”said Valeriia, who asked to use only her first name, told blogTO.
As a result, she and her family returned home and decided to try their luck again on Tuesday. However, things were no better.
# COVID19 testing lineups @WCHospital in Toronto – double line and round the block. pic.twitter.com/sIVeZlDSu1
– Duncan McCue (@duncanmccue) September 16, 2020
“We decided to come back in the morning to the Etobicoke drive-thru. We arrived at 7:58 am and there were already over a hundred cars in front of us, ”she said, adding that the center opened at 8 am.
“The first car entered the tent at 8:40 am, so it was very interesting. “
I arrived at the Toronto Western Hospital COVID Assessment Center at 11 a.m. (doors open at noon) and was about 50th in line. It is now 11:30 am and I would say over 200 people are now lining up. pic.twitter.com/MCSFncrr14
– Nick Iozzo (@nickiozzo) 15 septembre 2020
In response to these “ridiculous” queues, Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday that residents of Ontario may soon be able to get tested at local pharmacies. It also prompted Mayor John Tory to request extended hours at assessment centers.
Today, around 100 people are lining up for the # COVID19 testing center at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. Someone near the front told me he had been in line for almost three hours. It took me over a minute to walk from back to front. @ 680NEWS pic.twitter.com/hnUcb5s2ml
– Mark Douglas (@ Douglas680NEWS) September 15, 2020
“The good news here is that people are going to be tested. If they have any concerns, if they have symptoms, if they feel they’ve been in contact with someone with COVID-19, we want them tested. But they also deserve to be tested in a timely manner and we know there are long lines in many parts of Ontario, ”Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters on Tuesday.
Ontario currently has over 45,000 cases of COVID-19, while Toronto has over 16,000.