The Markham YMCA has opened its doors as a COVID-19 testing clinic to serve southeast Markham, one of the “hot zone areas” hardest hit by COVID-19.
The testing clinic is being operated in partnership with Carefirst Seniors & Community Services Association, Markham Stouffville Hospital and Health for All Family Health Team, an inter-professional primary care clinic.
“Evidence shows that the pandemic has had an impact on racialized and newcomer communities more significantly than others,” says Helen Leung, CEO of Carefirst, a non-profit charitable community services agency. “These communities face complex barriers to services, so they require specific supports. We feel confident about the team’s capacity to improve access to care in these neighbourhoods.”
Communities with higher-than-average positivity rates often experience barriers that make it more difficult for them to safely physical distance or self-isolate. Those barriers include an inability to work from home or housing insecurity if unable to work due to a positive diagnosis.
“The impact of this virus is not equal and has shown us that different communities require better support,” says Medhat Mahdy, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto. “With our heightened focus on equity, especially as it relates to those impacted by COVID-19, offering a portion of the Markham YMCA as a testing facility gave us the opportunity to do our part to reach communities.”
The clinic will run every Monday and Saturday between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. through March 29. Walk-in appointments are available but wait times will vary. Booking by appointment is preferred to help with physical distancing on site. Take your OHIP card or, if you don’t have one, another form of identification. The YMCA is located at 101 YMCA Blvd. For more information or to book an appointment, call (416) 646-5108 or visit carefirstontario.ca.
Photo of a health-care worker at the COVID-19 testing centre at the Markham YMCA courtesy of the YMCA of Greater Toronto.