Update from the Base Surgeon: 2 Field Ambulance drive-through COVID testing


Posted on Thursday October 15, 2020


Walk-in testing now available to Canadian Armed Forces members at BB-130, Garrison Petawawa, Monday to Friday from 0800-1000 hrs.

Hey all, it’s your Base Surgeon. As I’m sure some of you have already heard, 2 Fd Amb has stood up a drive-through testing capability here on Base. We’ve been working the process out over the last week, and it’s been going great. I’m going to tell you a bit about it.

Who should go? This is really important for everyone to understand, so that the capability isn’t overwhelmed, and we aren’t wasting our precious test capacity.

• It’s for military members only. At this time, we can’t test civilians—this includes your civi family members, Defence Team members, even our own healthcare workers.
• Symptomatic members. If you have symptoms that could be COVID, even mild ones, you can go.
• Members who are Close Contacts of known positive COVID cases. It’s likely that a healthcare worker told you to go because of this.
• Anyone who has been directed by a local CAF medical authority to go for testing (reasons include upcoming surgery, deployment, COVID exposure, etc)

Who should not go?
• Asymptomatic members who haven’t been directed to get tested by a local CAF medical authority must not go to get tested. This test cannot tell you if you had COVID in the past.
• If you’re quarantining at home because someone in your household is sick, you must not go to get tested. Getting tested will not allow you to end your quarantine earlier. The sick person should get tested.

Do I need to call anyone to go or to make an appointment? No. This is barrier-free testing. However, if you have symptoms or need to quarantine at home you must inform your CoC. If you’re sick and need testing, you should not access any other buildings—get tested, then get back home to isolate.

When is it open? From 0800-1000hrs, Monday-Friday. This is on a first-come first-served basis—there are no appointments. Testing is currently limited to approximately 60 tests per day. Weather permitting, members can walk through the testing site, and are encouraged to arrive at 0800. For those who do not have a POMV but need testing, they must inform their CoC so they can coordinate transport.

Where is it? Entrance to the testing facility is at BB-130 (2 Fd Amb proper, not Base Medical Clinic) located on Montgomery Rd. There is prominent signage. Please follow it.

How will I get my result? A healthcare worker will call you with your result. Please do not call the CDUs, Renfrew County, Pembroke Regional Hospital, the Provincial Lab or any other number seeking your test results. As testing volume goes up, wait times will likely increase. If you haven’t received a result in 10 days, engage your CoC for guidance. If somehow you haven’t received a result in 14 days, and you’ve been well for at least 24 hours, you can return to work and normal life automatically.

How long will it take to get my result? This always depends on how busy the labs are. Right now they’re busy. As of today results are coming back in approximately five days. We shouldn’t be surprised if it starts to take longer.

What do I need to bring? Does it hurt? Make sure you have your Military ID and your best phone number. It doesn’t hurt. 

Can I still go to the local civi testing sites? No. They’re currently struggling with very high volume. Because our computer systems don’t interface well with theirs, it’s very difficult for them to follow-up with military members. Now that we have our own integral testing capability, no military member should go to a civi site unless explicitly directed to do so by a CAF medical authority. It’s likely you’ll be turned away. If you develop symptoms over the weekend, wait, and present for testing on Monday morning. If you have a civilian family member who needs testing, they can go to the local civi testing sites.

A final reminder. If you live in the Shacks you can’t isolate or quarantine there under any circumstances. If you have symptoms, or are a Close Contact of someone with symptoms, you must notify your CoC. They will advise you and arrange safe accommodations on base for you.

As of tomorrow (October 3), the COVID phone will be stood down for routine inquiries. If you have a need to be tested, you can access the drive-through testing site. If you need guidance, you should seek it from your CoC.

Tim JL Peppin
MD/Calian Contractor
Base Surgeon
Garrison Petawawa