FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - Horizon Ottawa is calling on Mayor Watson, Ottawa Chief Public Health Officer Vera Etches, and Ottawa City Council to push the province to add more locations where rapid testing kits would be available to those without access to adequate transportation. Currently out of seven LCBOs, only one is located in the downtown core. Etches also noted that ten new locations will be added as of December 21st, Horizon Ottawa is hoping that elected officials and Ottawa Public Health will push to ensure that these will be in locations where everyone can access them.
“You should not need to have a car to access healthcare in this city.” Said Sam Hersh, Board member of Horizon Ottawa. “This is a pattern we have been seeing since the beginning of the pandemic where testing sites have been put into areas that are largely inaccessible to anyone with access to adequate transportation be that by public transit or any form of active transportation.”
In the Fall of 2020, there were similar calls around COVID-19 testing sites when there was only one testing site located in the downtown core, and few sites located in the East end of the City, seeing many neighborhoods left out. The lack of testing sites in these neighbourhoods meant the ones who were able to access them also had to wait in hours-long lines that saw many simply turn away.
“It’s not only about making it more convenient for residents in these parts of the city,” said Hersh, “It is also about ensuring that low-income residents, racialized residents and seniors for example, who are least likely to have access to a car and most at risk to contract COVID, have access to rapid tests just like everyone else.
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