Whether it’s a restaurant or a retail store, Ken Milstone-Turner often does an online research about a business before going there.
And he had the same approach a few weeks ago when he felt symptoms of COVID-19. After deciding to take a test, the 24-year-old Toronto resident began searching online for where to go and what to expect.
In an era when a quick Google search brings you in-depth information, photos, maps, and reviews from many companies and services, Milstone-Turner says doing the same for Toronto’s COVID-19 testing centers wasn’t ” not easy “.
He says that besides basic information such as times and locations of assessment centers, “there isn’t really much information on what these tests look like. That’s why he decided to create a website full of test site information where people can add their own reviews as well.
“You kind of go blind in these places,” Milstone-Turner said.
For example, when Milstone-Turner arrived to be tested at Humber River Hospital, he noticed a “paper sign” indicating that test results could take up to 10 days.
“I haven’t seen this anywhere online before I booked,” he said, adding that a subsequent test he had done at Women’s College Hospital yielded results much faster.
This is the kind of information Milstone-Turner is trying to compile on its new website: gtatesting.org.
Visitors can use the site to search for COVID-19 assessment centers in Toronto. They can read and leave reviews of the centers to provide a more detailed account of their experience in each of them.
“The fastest way to describe it is Yelp for COVID-19 testing centers,” Milstone-Turner said.
Unlike Yelp, their site is not a business and does not generate any income. Milstone-Turner says that even though he saw a lot of traffic on the site, he wouldn’t be comfortable advertising or trying to take advantage of people seeking help during a pandemic.
He points to another example of the site’s potential usefulness from his own experience: At Women’s College Hospital, Milstone-Turner said there were tents and he waited outside for the test.
At Humber River Hospital, he said patients wait together inside, which some people may not be comfortable doing. Searching online before leaving, he found no mention of it.
Milstone-Turner is hoping that as its site grows, the finer details about Assessment Centers will be available through user reviews.
“I think people should have the right to choose the hospital environment that works best for them,” he said.