It’s called the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre in Saskatoon, but it’s so much more.
This centre, located on Thatcher Avenue, takes appointments for testing and provides assessments as well as houses administrative staff on the second level, who answer calls, book appointments and register patient information necessary to support the front-line services available at the centre.
Pam, administrative support for the testing centre, is registering patient information.
Booked appointments at the testing centre require a referral from either 811 or a physician. Those coming in are met at the door by a greeter who guides them through hand sanitizing and checking in.
Entrance for COVID-19 testing appointments at the Thatcher Avenue testing centre.
Physicians are on-site, and can be seen for an assessment with a referral and an appointment if their own physician isn’t able to see them. There are 10 community physicians, who rotate in and out of the assessment centre to provide care for COVID-19 patients.
Using the drive-thru testing does not require a referral - just the presentation of a health card upon arrival.
Outside, Saskatchewan Public Safety staff help direct traffic arriving for drive-thru testing and ensure the safety of everyone involved.
“We went from fighting bush fires and tackling floods until the Saskatchewan Health Authority asked for our assistance,” said Bryden, a Saskatchewan Public Safety staff member who admitted, “The job is quite different from what we are used to.”
Once inside the building, the drive-thru area has runners that collect information from each vehicle and bring it back to the registration area. Tests are then collected and sent to the lab.
Tests being performed in the drive-thru area of the testing centre.
The drive-thru area was recently revamped to include overhead heaters to keep the staff and public comfortable in harsh weather.
“Many staff members have experienced change in their work,” noted Janel, a manager of the Saskatoon drive-thru testing/assessment centre.
Managers of the testing centre, Jesse and Janel, have created a department of over 80 staff who work on Thatcher Avenue in Saskatoon.
Previously, the testing centre was continuously drawing staff from the SHA labour pool to fill shifts. Eventually a department dedicated to the centre was created which includes 80 staff, a combination of administrative staff, testers, greeters, environmental services and drive-thru staff.
For information and hours of all of Saskatchewan’s drive-thru testing site visit the Saskatchewan Health Authority COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing Wait Times page.