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le Jeudi 27 août 2020 18:15 Autres - Others

New site for the Hawkesbury test centre?

The old OPP station could become the new site for Hawkesbury’s COVID-19 testing and assessment centre. Hawkesbury & District General Hospital, which mans the current test centre on Laurier Street, has asked the municipality about a short-term user lease for part of the OPP building after the police have moved to their new quarters on Cameron Street. — photo Gregg Chamberlain
The old OPP station could become the new site for Hawkesbury’s COVID-19 testing and assessment centre. Hawkesbury & District General Hospital, which mans the current test centre on Laurier Street, has asked the municipality about a short-term user lease for part of the OPP building after the police have moved to their new quarters on Cameron Street.
photo Gregg Chamberlain
There may be a new location for Hawkesbury’s COVID-19 testing and assessment centre.

Hawkesbury & District General Hospital (HGH) operates the test centre, located on Laurier Street, through a partnership arrangement with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this spring, the Hawkesbury test centre has handled almost 5000 assessments of people from Hawkesbury, Champlain Township, East Hawkesbury Township, and other areas to determine if they had the disease.

Town council received a report August 17 from Chief Administrator Daniel Gatien that HGH has asked about getting a short-term lease for use of part of the old OPP station as a new test centre site. The proposed lease period would be from November 20 2020 to March 21 2021.

“This is an opportunity to look into that (possibility),” Gatien said during a later interview.

HGH has no problems with the condition of the existing Laurier Street site for the test centre. But the situation now for the centre’s continuing operation requires a short-term lease option.

During the August 17 council teleconference, Councillor Yves Paquette noted that the Hawkesbury Royal Canadian Legion might be able to provide space for the test centre in its Nelson Street hall. He reminded council that the Legion has suffered a loss of support revenue for its various community programs when the early stages of the pandemic forced closure of all non-essential businesses.

The Legion Hall has now reopened under Phase Two of the provincial government’s economic restart plan for Ontario. Councillor Paquette observed that the Legion could benefit from HGH’s need for a new short-term site for its CV19 test centre.

Council directed Gatien to discuss the short-term lease option for the OPP building with HGH officials and also to tell them that the Hawkesbury Legion Hall might be another temporary to consider.