By: Mike Anderson

The Georgina Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic (GNPLC) is set to launch another drive-thru testing site in Georgina.

But, according to clinical director Beth Cowper-Fung, GNPLC is still waiting on the Ministry of Health and Central LHIN to give it the green light.

While she expects the approvals to come soon, they might be held up by the province’s testing backlog and changes to the booking process, which still need to be worked out.

Still, Ms. Cowper-Fung is confident that the necessary approvals will come this week, following constructive meetings with MPP Caroline Mulroney’s office and Mayor Margaret Quirk.

In an email to The Post, Ms. Cowper-Fung said the drive-thru testing site will be located in the parking lot at River Glen Haven Nursing Home in Sutton and is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, October 21, from 10 am to 12 noon.

“I’m very hopeful that I will get the green light to run every two weeks,” she said. “It will be a drive-thru and pre-booked.”

The GNPLC held a successful one-day drive-thru testing event at the Sutton Arena Hall parking lot on July 29.

The testing was on a first-come, first-serve basis and resulted in more than 130 residents being tested with no positive results.

However, this time around, residents won’t be able just to show up.

“We will provide a LHIN phone number to book with,” Ms. Cowper-Fung said.

But, according to Ms. Cowper-Fung, the actual testing process will be faster than last time, with most of the prep and administration work done before the test.

The GNPLC’s push for local testing follows long line-ups last month at Southlake’s Assessment Centre — now appointment-only testing — and the province approving only one pharmacy, located in Markham, for COVID-19 testing in York Region.

Maureen McDermott, who must be tested every two-weeks as an essential caregiver, wants to see GNPLC start testing as soon as possible.

Ms. McDermott said she had to wait eight days to get a test at Southlake, which means her most recent negative test will expire before she can get a new test result, effectively locking her out of her mother’s nursing home.

“The province has mandated that all essential caregivers require a two-week mandatory test, but it is not available to us. So they have mandated this, but they are not prepared to deliver,” said Ms. McDermott, who is also upset that only one pharmacy in York Region has been approved for testing.

“It forces me to go into a busy hub and a busy hotspot. I’m trying desperately to keep my bubbles small. So don’t force me to go to Markham.”

She also worries that some essential caregivers may not bother with testing because the process is too frustrating, and LTC homes don’t ask for written proof of a negative result.

“So you have people like me who verbally attest. But I don’t have to show it. I don’t have to prove anything further than that. Do you really think that perhaps some of these older essential caregivers, such as spouses, are going to be on top of this?” She said.

“What if somebody is desperate enough to see their loved one and just can’t deal with all these backlogs and not getting a test and just saying, yeah, sure, I’m good. That’s what we have to rely on now. That is opening it up to a possible outbreak.”

Ms. McDermott recently started an online petition on change.org, addressed to Premier Doug Ford and MPP Caroline Mulroney, demanding more local testing in Ontario.

The petition has nearly 300 signatures and can be viewed at www.change.org

For updates on the GNPLC testing, visit the clinic’s website www.gnplc.ca and Facebook page.

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