MSH transforms assessment centre for cold and flu season

When the air gets crisper and the nights get longer, it is a signal that cold and flu season is on its way.

In anticipation of the flu season and potential second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) has made enhancements to its COVID-19 Assessment Centre.

Building on lessons learned from the first wave of COVID-19 and feedback received by community physicians and local partners, MSH has transformed its former cafeteria into a COVID-19 Assessment Centre, complete with 10 assessment bays.

This new space brings patients inside and provides an appropriate setting for physicians to assess patients who may have COVID-19, cold and/or flu. The enhanced assessment centre has been opened since October 14 and is staffed predominantly by primary care physicians (who are part of the Eastern York Region North Durham Ontario Health Team) and one emergency physician at peak hours. It can serve up to 650 patients a day and is a place where patients can be assessed safely for COVID-19, cold and/or flu and tested for COVID-19.

To meet the evolving needs of the community, the assessment centre has moved to an online scheduling system. Patients can schedule their own appointment online for a timeslot up to 48 hours in advance.

This collaboration between MSH and the Eastern York Region North Durham (EYRDN) Ontario Health Team (OHT) partners ensures that patients in the Markham, Stouffville, Thornhill, Uxbridge and Brock have seamless access to the care they need right in their community.

Following the successful enhancement of the COVID-19 Assessment Centre, EYRND OHT partners have now shifted gears and have initiated a mobile flu clinic for congregate settings such as group homes and retirement homes within the Markham, Stouffville and Thornhill area. Their focus is on immunizing individuals who are considered high risk and cannot get to a clinic to receive their flu shot.

The mobile flu team also has their sights on creating a paediatric flu clinic to vaccinate children between six months and five years old that do not qualify for vaccination in pharmacies.

For more information about MSH’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre or how to book a test visit

Photo: Staff waiting to see patients at the newly transformed COVID-19 Assessment Centre, which has moved inside the hospital. Photo courtesy of Andrew Aggerholm.

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