COVID-19: Free rapid tests snapped up at Walter Baker centre; Kieren Moore announcement set for 3 p.m.

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All of the free rapid antigen tests made available at Thursday’s giveaway popup at the Walter Baker Recreation Centre were snapped up shortly after it opened at 7 a.m., according to a tweet from the City of Ottawa.

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Walter Baker was scheduled to resume at 7 a.m. Friday at the centre at 100 Malvern Dr.

The popup at St. Laurent Shopping Centre, which opened an hour later, lasted a little longer.

Lineups were already long when the popup began.

However, the city reported that the free tests were gone just after 9 a.m.

With COVID cases soaring among its workers, the Queensway Carleton Hospital announced a slowdown in services in ambulatory care, therapeutic services, Endo/Cycto and other areas so that staff can be redeployed.

Operating rooms, meanwhile, are currently only performing emergency and cancer surgeries.

More than 40 staff members have tested positive for COVID.

Overall occupancy, the hospital noted on Wednesday, was at 107 per cent, with 141 per cent occupancy in medicine and 150 patients on isolation protocols.

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The hospital is asking the public to only use the emergency department for emergencies, and consider other alternatives if possible, including family doctors and walk-in clinics. Those who choose to go to the emergency department can expect longer-than-usual wait time.

Meanwhile, the province is expected to make an announcement Thursday as the number of COVID-19 infections continue to soar.

A news conference by Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore is scheduled for 3 p.m.

He was initially scheduled to hold a news conference on Tuesday to share new rules on COVID-19 testing and case management, but the event was postponed so officials could review changes to isolation and quarantine guidelines in the U.S.

Ontarians are waiting for the province to announce whether children will go back to school in person or online next week in light of the recent surge in cases driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant.

Some provinces have decided to prolong the winter break for some or all students, while others have opted to switch to virtual learning starting next week.

Ontario recorded a new daily high of 10,436 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, just days after logging more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time in the pandemic.

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