Some MPI centres to reopen after being used as COVID-19 testing sites

By | June 3, 2020

WINNIPEG — Service centres belonging to Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) that were used for COVID-19 testing will be returning to their regular purpose in the coming weeks.

The Crown corporation made the announcement on Wednesday, noting the Dauphin and Swan River centres will be reopening June 8, while the Winnipeg Bison centre will reopen June 15.

Since the pandemic hit, the three centres have been used as COVID-19 testing facilities. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority sent CTV News a statement in regards to their sanitation procedures as the sites are being handed back to MPI.

“Throughout our time in the MPI space, we maintained a daily ‘Tier 2-level’ clean of testing bay surfaces, staff break spaces, restrooms, and main office space,” a spokesperson for the WRHA said. “The sites are treated and cleaned as any clinical space would be. The terminal clean upon closure will include a modified version similar to what is done to clean out the isolation rooms, keeping in mind patients tested in the drive-through centres do not leave their vehicles.”

The WRHA said there will be a three day period between the last day of testing, vacating the property, and MPI taking it back over.

“MPI is slowly returning to regular business operations. The Corporation was pleased to assist in helping flatten the COVID-19 curve,” said Ben Graham, MPI President and CEO, in a statement.

Prairie Mountain Health had been using the centres in Dauphin and Swan River to screen for COVID-19.

COVID-19 testing in Dauphin will now take place at the Dauphin Community Health Services Building at 625 Third St. SW. The site will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Swan River site will be in the parking of the Swan Valley Primary Care Centre, located at 1000 Main Street. The site will also operate Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Prairie Mountain Health wishes to thank MPI for the cooperation and generosity they provided as the region utilized their drive-through sites (garages) during the last two months. We sincerely appreciate their commitment and dedication to our communities,” a spokesperson for the organization said.

They added at both the Dauphin and Swan River testing sites, a combined total of 533 people were tested for the virus.

As MPI opens up their sites, questions about driving tests and safety precautions remain. The organization previously announced it would be resuming Class 1 driving tests that were postponed when the pandemic started.

“MPI is daily discussing the resumption of all other classes. The Corporation hopes to make an announcement about this later this month,” said Brian Smiley, MPI media relations coordinator, in a statement to CTV.

According to MPI’s website, once Class 1 road tests resume, customers must have their own mask and wear it during the test. They must also sanitize their vehicle and all points of touch, as well as answer questions to ensure no exposure to COVID-19 before the testing can take place.

Driver examiners will wear full personal protective gear with masks and eye protection. If the customer shows symptoms of a respiratory illness at any time during the pre-test or road test, such as coughing, the test may be cancelled immediately and rebooked for a later date.

If customers need to write the knowledge test, they are encouraged to have their mask and wear the mask during the test. They are also asked to bring their own pens to write the test. MPI will require customers to sanitize their hands when entering the centre, before the written test, and before the vision test.  

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