A COVID-19 testing centre that opens today was created to make it easier for Brampton residents to find out if they have the virus.
Created by the South Asian COVID Task Force in response to a need it believes exists in the community, the large testing centre is located at the Embassy Grand Convention Centre at 8800 The Gore Rd. at Queen St.
The centre is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and same day appointments can be made.
Appointments can be made by calling 905-366-7374. The tests are free of charge.
Task force representative Guri Pannu said the new testing centre was set up to reach Brampton’s South Asian community, a large segment of the population which may be missing out on some of the health messages that are spread through mainstream sources. He quickly added all members of the community are welcome to get tested at the site.
“Because of the high proportion of South Asians in Brampton, as well as the high proportion of cases amongst the South Asian population, we recognized that some of the basic information wasn’t reaching that community,” said Pannu. “Not everyone is on social media, especially older people and those who don’t speak English. And not everyone can use a computer or book appointments online. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for the public to use.”
Pannu said they have been spreading the word about the testing centre through the South Asian media along with mainstream news outlets. He said social media hasn’t been ignored because the task force understands that younger users are an important link to the community as they are able to explain what is happening to older members of their family.
He said the location of the centre is important, too, as the Embassy Grand Convention Centre is a place where many South Asian social events and weddings are held, so it is familiar territory for some.
“What’s important, too, is that once people arrive for the tests, it’s an opportunity to talk to staff who speak the same language, so they can find out more about isolating at home or what to do if they have (COVID-19) symptoms, or ask questions about the vaccine,” Pannu said. “We just want to make it as easy as possible to meet the needs of the community.”
Pannu said because of the large size of the building, a high volume of people can be tested. As well, he said the hours of operation should make it convenient for those essential workers in Brampton to find the time to come for a test.
For a full list of where you can get tested for COVID-19 in Brampton click here.