Only hours after the second case of novel coronavirus was confirmed in the capital, Queensway Carleton Hospital has created the city’s first drive-thru centre for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. Its aim is to “minimize wait times” and free up the emergency department. As many as 20 people a day are being tested.

On Thursday, Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) confirmed that they were introducing the city’s first drive-thru testing centre in order to take some pressure off the hospital’s emergency department.

In a statement, they explained that the new service had been set up next to the emergency room, where they will aim to “minimize wait times for patients."

The new system intends to free-up space in the necessary departments, while also lowering the risk of exposure to other people.

Among other things, the new strategy eliminates the need for room disinfection between patients, which the hospital explained is necessary, but very time-consuming.

This comes as Ottawa Public Health confirmed it would be best for unwell people to avoid all hospital scenarios where possible. To this end, the city plans to open their first indoor assessment centre at Brewer arena.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, local health officials have been concerned about the effect COVID-19 testing is having on emergency departments in the city.

In the days that followed the capital's first confirmed case of the virus, the number of people trying to get tested significantly increased, with as many as 20 per day trying to get results.

This number is expected to grow as cases continue to be diagnosed across Ontario.

Ottawa’s first case of the virus was diagnosed earlier this week and is believed to be a man in his 40s, who recently returned from a trip abroad.

As well as a second confirmed case on Thursday, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has also been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Both the Prime Minister and his wife remain in isolation at home.

You can find all of Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 updates and information by clicking here.

*This article has been updated.

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