Wabano Centre providing pop-up COVID-19 testing for Indigenous people

OTTAWA — An Ottawa indigenous health centre is operating a pop-up testing site this week at its location just east of downtown.

The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health on Montreal Road is offering testing for First Nations, Inuit and Metis people on Monday and Tuesday.

The tests are being administered by appointment only.

“We know that Indigenous people face a high burden of health issues, and are considered one of those vulnerable populations,” Donna Lyons, the Wabano Centre director of quality assurance, training and education, told CTV News Ottawa. “We’re concerned about the health and safety of our community.”

Lyons said there were 50 people booked for tests Monday and another 50 on Tuesday.

“We also have a waiting list, and it’s growing,” she said. “So we know Indigenous people want to come and get tested.”

With high demand at testing centres across the city—the Moodie Drive COVID-19 care clinic reached capacity for the day on Monday morning—the pop-up site provides some relief.

And much of the Wabano Centre’s clientele live in the area, so the pop-up site is easier for them to get to, Lyons said.

“It’s very convenient and efficient,” she said. “We don’t have long wait lines outside our centre.”

The Wabano Centre will be coordinating with Ottawa Public Health to do contact tracing and provide guidance to those who test positive and must self-isolate.

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