April 12, 2023 at 11:30 am
The last COVID-19 assessment clinic in London will officially close its doors at the end of this month.
The London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) announced on Wednesday that it will close its COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinic (CCFCC) at Victoria Hospital from 28 April. The decision to close the site, which is used to evaluate, test, and treat patients with symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal cold and flu as demand for appointments declines.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CCFCC has been an important resource for patients and an important alternative to our emergency department,” said Jerry Plastino, director of ambulatory care and pharmacy at LHSC. “We are extremely grateful to our staff, physicians and community partners who have provided this important service to our community over the past three years.”
The Oakridge and Carling Heights COVID-19 Clinical Evaluation Centers opened at the start of the pandemic, when demand for testing skyrocketed. They served more than 229,000 people in the 886 days before closing, relocating services to Building 24 of the south London hospital in August 2022. In December, the clinic expanded to treat people with cold and flu symptoms such as fever or chills, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches or joint pain, runny or stuffy nose, abdominal pain, extreme tiredness, sore throat and pink eye. The aim is to reduce the pressure on overwhelmed emergency departments.
From December to February last year, approximately 2,100 patients were evaluated at the CCFCC site. Last month, visits fell to the point where clinics were operating at just 11 per cent capacity, the LHSC said.
The clinic’s operating hours will be reduced from 9:20 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. seven days a week to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday before the general closure. The new hours of operation will take effect Monday.
Beginning April 29, people who need a COVID-19 test or medication, such as Paxlovid or Remdesivir, are advised to contact their primary care provider or make an appointment at a participating pharmacy in the area. Those with cold and flu symptoms should see their family doctor, nurse practitioner, walk-in clinic or urgent care center.