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Ottawa's first COVID-19 assessment centre opens at Brewer Arena

Local health officials say the centre is not for residents who simply feel worried about the coronavirus, but for people who are experiencing mild symptoms of the illness.
2020-03-13 brewer arena covid-19 coronavirus testing centre assessment
Workers get set for an influx of patients at Ottawa's Brewer Arena COVID-19 assessment centre, March 13, 2020. Jason White/

Ottawa's first dedicated COVID-19 assessment centre is now seeing patients. 

The makeshift clinic at Brewer Arena does not require a referral or an appointment, but Ottawa Public Health's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches stresses, it is not for people who are just worried about the coronavirus. 

She says the centre is for people who are showing mild symptoms of COVID-19. 

"So the people who we would test are folks who have travelled outside of Canada, and then within the 14 days of returning to Canada have developed respiratory symptoms like a cough or a fever," explains Dr. Etches.

The purpose of the new centre is to ease pressure on local hospitals but if someone thinks they have a more serious case of the virus -- showing more severe symptoms like trouble breathing, chest pain or fainting spells -- Dr. Etches says they should go to a hospital emergency room or call 911.

The Brewer Arena assessment centre will be open seven days a week, between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

For more information on when and where residents can seek help in the city, including phone numbers to call, visit Ottawa Public Health's coronavirus response page

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