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'Why are we not bringing the military in?:' Barrhaven councillor wants more COVID-19 testing centres

Jan Harder envisions pop-up testing centres using military field hospitals to test people and shelter them from the elements.
2020-09-17-covid-testing-signs-jw-crop
A sign outside Ottawa's Brewer Arena COVID-19 assessment centre on Thursday, September 17, 2020. Jason White/1310 NEWS

Hours-long lineups for COVID-19 tests at Ottawa's assessment and testing centres have one city councillor thinking it's time to call in the army for help.

Demand for testing has surged since school started, and testing centres frequently run out of capacity -- in some cases, the total number of people it can test in one day are lined up outside, before the doors even open.

"Why are we not bringing the military in? Why would we not do that," asked Barrhaven Ward City Councillor Jan Harder. 

Harder envisions pop-up testing centres using military field hospitals to test people and shelter them from the elements.

"They have that capacity; they also have the team behind it," Harder told The Rob Snow Show on 1310 NEWS.

Harder thinks OC Transpo park-and-ride lots, which have been lightly-used since many companies directed their employees to work from home, would be perfect spots for pop-up testing centres.

"I've been watching the Fallowfield park-and-ride, it holds about 2,000 cars," said Harder. "I've been watching the highest number [of vehicles] there being 70, over the past month."

Harder said a request for military help would have to come from Ontario's premier, but acknowledges that an increase in testing capacity would have to be accompanied by an increase in lab capacity to process the tests.

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