Manitoba Public Insurance closing its Winnipeg Bison Service Centre, transition to COVID-19 testing centre

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Manitoba Public Insurance is closing its Bison Service Centre in Winnipeg, effective today (March 19) to allow it to be used for a COVID-19 mobile, drive-thru testing centre.

All remaining customer appointments scheduled at this location will be cancelled. Impacted customers will be contacted directly and advised of their alternative options.

The Corporation has been requested to allow Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living to leverage MPI resources to create more additional capacity and access for Manitobans who have been directed to be tested. An official opening date for the drive-thru will be announced by the province.

“I want to thank MPI for their community leadership and cooperation with this effort,” said Crown Services Minister Jeff Wharton. “These are challenging times, but we are all in this together and will overcome this challenge stronger than ever before.”

The Bison drive-thru location will operate on a referral basis, with Manitobans required to contact Health Links-Info Sante for screening to determine whether they should be tested for COVID-19. Individuals being tested will be requested to remain in their vehicles in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. Similar mobile testing units are already in use throughout the world.

“We’re all doing our part to flatten the COVID-19 curve and assist where we can,” MPI’s President and CEO Ben Graham said today. “This location was requested due to its proximity to the Victoria General Hospital. Our facility meets all health criteria and is located in the heart of the greatest testing volumes.”

MPI’s Bison Service Centre is located at 15 Barnes Street. Affected MPI staff be relocated to other locations, or allowed to work from home where possible.