Toronto transforms decommissioned TTC buses into mobile COVID-19 testing sites
A decommissioned TTC bus is used as a mobile COVID-19 testing site. (Stuart Green/Twitter)
Published Wednesday, December 9, 2020 3:42PM EST
A handful of TTC buses have been reconfigured as mobile COVID-19 testing sites to serve Toronto neighbourhoods most in need.
The vehicles are decommissioned buses and will not be available for regular service. Toronto Paramedic Services will oversee the testing and the vehicles themselves will be driven by TTC instructors.
“Access to testing is crucial,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a post on social media. “By reconfiguring TTC buses for mobile testing, we're removing barriers to COVID-19 testing in marginalized communities.”
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Tory said the first two mobile testing sites will roll out tomorrow in the Elms-Old Rexdale neighbourhood, which has logged a 10.1 per cent positivity rate in infections during the week of Nov. 15.
Data provided by Toronto Public Health from Nov 16 to Dec. 6 also shows 286 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the area.
On Thursday, one of the mobile testing centres will operate between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. while the other will run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“The paramedic services officials estimate that these buses can test up to 100 people a shift,” Tory said. “They will be operating in places within these communities where there aren’t testing sites nearby to make getting testing easier and more accessible.”
Tory said the use of TTC buses as mobile COVID-19 testing sites “is just common sense.”
“We want to help the province increase the testing of the right people, in the right places, at the right time.”
The city will also be adding more buses to some of Toronto’s busiest routes in an effort to relieve overcrowding.