East Toronto Health Partners to offer seven pop-up COVID-19 testing sites in East Toronto to improve access to community testing

Temporary sites break down barriers to testing while providing an integrated system of care during the pandemic

(Nov. 2, 2020) Toronto East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), an Ontario Health Team

> (OHT), is operating seven popup COVID-19 testing sites in East Toronto to improve access to COVID-19 testing for its community members.

The temporary COVID-19 testing sites offer drop-in and same-day appointments for local residents of priority neighbourhoods in East Toronto. The sites also offer low-barrier testing for individuals who are experiencing homelessness and who do not have easy access to Internet. Five new testing locations open this week and join two existing pop-up COVID-19 testing sites that were launched and recently extended by ETHP in Thorncliffe Park and Taylor-Massey (Crescent Town).

The pop-up COVID-19 testing sites are run by a number of community, primary care, hospital and social services organizations in East Toronto working together to provide an integrated system of care across their communities. The initiative is part of a broader COVID-19 community response strategy by ETHP that involves analyzing neighbourhoodlevel data related to where patients who are testing positive at Michael Garron Hospital’s (MGH) COVID-19 Assessment Centre live and where patients with COVID-19 concerns in MGH’s Emergency Department (ED) are coming from.

Using this data, MGH infection prevention and control (IPAC) specialists have identified areas in East Toronto that are experiencing high COVID-19 positivity rates and/or low COVID-19 testing rates. In response, ETHP is making COVID-19 testing easily accessible to residents in these neighbourhoods. The collaborative, community-based approach breaks down barriers to healthcare access and addresses the social determinants of health that may make it difficult for some populations to seek or access care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through our long history of partnership with ETHP, we understand that a localized, integrated model of care is most effective when it comes to addressing the healthcare needs of our East Toronto communities,” says Dr. Jeff Powis, medical director of infection prevention and control at MGH and a member of ETHP.

“During the pandemic, we’ve relied on the strong partnerships that exist among ETHP members to organize pop-up COVID-19 testing sites in East Toronto since May. We’ve also worked with our partners to provide follow-up care in the community for those who have been infected with COVID-19, to support long-term care homes and local schools and to ensure access to non-COVID-19 related primary care. We are happy to continue this work to ensure our priority populations are able to access the supports they need during the pandemic.”

ETHP organizations leading the pop-up COVID-19 testing sites in East Toronto include: East Toronto Family Practice Network (EasT-FPN), Flemingdon Health Centre (FHC), Health Access Thorncliffe Park (HATP), Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC), TNO — The Neighbourhood Organization, Warden Woods Community Centre and WoodGreen Community Services. ETHP is also working with the City of Toronto to host four of its temporary COVID-19 testing sites in city-owned spaces. The initiative is funded by Ontario Health.

Residents of East Toronto who live in the following priority neighbourhoods and meet the Ontario government’s COVID-19 testing criteria may access ETHP’s seven pop-up COVID-19 testing sites at the indicated dates and times. Residents of East Toronto who live outside the following priority neighbourhoods and meet provincial COVID-19 testing guidelines are encouraged to continue accessing MGH’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre by appointment.

East York

East York Community Centre (1081 ½ Pape Ave.) Open November 2 to 30 Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m.

Warden Woods

The Hub at Warden Woods Community Centre (76 Firvalley Court) Open November 5 to 30 Hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m.

Flemingdon Park

Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre (29 St Dennis Dr.) Open November 3 to 30 Hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m.

Flemingdon Park

Angela James Arena (165 Grenoble Dr.) Open November 9 to 30 Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 1 to 7 p.m.

South Riverdale

South Riverdale Community Health Centre (955 Queen St. E.) Open November 7, 10, 16 and 17 Hours: Saturday, November 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday, November 10 from 2 to 4 p.m.; Monday, November 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, November 17 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Taylor-Massey (Crescent Town)

Crescent Town Health Centre (4 The Market Place) Open November 2 to 30 Hours: Daily except Sunday from 12 to 5:30 p.m.

Thorncliffe Park

TNO Youth Centre (45 Overlea Blvd., Unit 108A) Open November 1 to 30 Hours: Daily from 12 to 5:30 p.m.

***Please note that testing at each temporary COVID-19 testing site may finish earlier depending on client volumes.

The following statements from participating ETHP organizations, Ontario Health and the City of Toronto speak to the importance of partnership, collaboration and an integrated, people-centred approach to providing care for the East Toronto community during the pandemic and beyond:

“To stop the spread of COVID-19, all orders of government are working together to help our residents. The City of Toronto is supporting provincial testing efforts by providing locations for pop-up testing in areas across the city. We are pleased to help the neighbourhoods served by East Toronto Health Partners by offering City locations for pop-up testing sites and we will continue to offer more locations as needed,” says City of Toronto Mayor John Tory.

“As a dedicated group of family physicians, East Toronto Family Practice Network (EasT-FPN) works within and alongside our community every day. During the pandemic, physicians from EasT-FPN have worked tirelessly with East Toronto Health Partners to help staff the MGH COVID-19 Assessment Centre and pop-up COVID-19 testing sites across East Toronto. We are thrilled to continue this collaborative work to improve access to COVID-19 testing in our priority neighbourhoods, as this is fundamental to addressing the needs of our patients in the communities where they live,” says Dr. Eleanor Colledge, physician lead for COVID-19 Assessment Centre response at East Toronto Family Practice Network.

“Flemingdon Health Centre (FHC) is pleased to collaborate with East Toronto Health Partners in providing residents of Flemingdon Park with enhanced access to community-based COVID-19 testing. Given the density and diversity of Flemingdon Park, additional local testing will support the strong networks of resident leaders and community partners to further the reach and impact of education and testing. We are proud to support this community-based approach by working collectively to keep our communities safe,” says Shobha Oza, director of community health and social impact at Flemingdon Health Centre.

“Health Access Thorncliffe Park (HATP) is proud to extend and continue to offer COVD-19 testing in partnership with East Toronto Health Partners. HATP has been providing community-based testing to the residents of Thorncliffe Park since June 2020. This experience has shown that strong community networks and proactive leadership of community members is vital in keeping children, families and communities safe,” says Manjula Alles, director of Health Access Thorncliffe Park.

“Having accessible COVID-19 testing for our clients and community will help keep our neighbourhood healthy and safe. Many people experiencing homelessness and those living in congregate settings need equitable access to testing to prevent outbreaks and protect their health. Protecting our priority populations means increasing testing and supporting people as they self-isolate should they acquire COVID-19. Alongside our East Toronto Health Partners, we will be setting up temporary testing sites in neighbourhoods where a need has been demonstrated to make it easier for these communities to have safe and equitable access to these essential services,” says Jason Altenberg, CEO of South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

“We know that targeted community testing is an integral part of combatting the pandemic. The new pop-up COVID-19 testing sites being launched by East Toronto Health Partners are a prime example of how system partners are working together across sectors to deliver truly person-centred care that meet the needs of our priority community members,” says Tess Romain, regional lead of Ontario Health – Toronto and CEO for Toronto Central LHIN.

“Our community members appreciate the critical access to temporary COVID-19 testing sites in their neighbourhoods. Throughout the pandemic, we have worked collaboratively with our partners to provide coordinated and wraparound supports to ensure the residents of the areas we serve can receive care quickly and locally,” says Ahmed Hussein, executive director of TNO — The Neighbourhood Organization.

“As we navigate a second wave of positive COVID-19 cases, we understand that an integrated, collaborative approach is vital in ensuring equitable access to healthcare for our communities. We are pleased to work with our East Toronto Health Partners to offer COVID-19 testing in areas where our community members can easily access this support,” says Parveen Amlani, manager of health and outreach support at Warden Woods Community Centre.

“We are proud to be part of a collaboration that brings support to the doorsteps of priority members in our communities. During the summer, we were able to test 2,554 individuals at the temporary COVID-19 testing site in Taylor-Massey (Crescent Town), one of the province’s first community pop-up testing sites and which continues to operate since reopening in September. By continuing to work together with our partners across five new pop-up COVID-19 testing sites in East Toronto, we will be able to provide seamless care while keeping many seniors out of busy hospitals and bridging the gap between primary care and the community,” says Anne Babcock, president and CEO of WoodGreen Community Services.

About East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP)

The ETHP Ontario Health Team is an evolving network of health, community care and social service providers with a long history of delivering East Toronto solutions together. ETHP is dedicated to creating an integrated model of services that places patients, clients and families at the centre of care. Collectively, ETHP is responsible for providing care and support to the 300,000 individuals who live in the East Toronto community, as well as an additional 75,000 clients who choose to receive healthcare in the local area. Patients and caregivers are partners in every aspect of the development of ETHP; including at the leadership table as the team works together to co-design a more integrated system of care. With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, ETHP has re-calibrated its strategic priorities to focus on four key areas, including: infection prevention and control management and support; engagement and co-design with clients and caregivers; accelerated integrated care across health service areas; and advancing health equity, diversity and inclusion for all those who work, live and receive care in East Toronto. Visit ethp.ca to learn more.

https://ethp.ca/1102-media-release-ethp-temporary-covid19-testing-sites
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