Ontario Expands COVID-19 Testing To Pharmacies

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Premier Ford and Minister Elliot announces the COVID-19 testing expansion plan in Huntsville. Pic: Doug Ford/Twitter

HUNTSVILLE: The Ontario government is providing people with convenient and timely access to free COVID-19 testing at pharmacies in the province.

As of Friday, up to 60 pharmacies in Ontario will begin offering testing by appointment, with further locations coming online in the coming weeks.

This initiative will expand testing capacity well beyond the province’s 150 assessment centres. Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“We rely on our pharmacists for our flu shots, prescriptions, and important health advice. It makes sense to engage them as key partners in delivering more COVID-19 testing,” said
Premier Ford.

“I have to thank Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, and the independent pharmacies who have stepped up to help. We are well on our way to reaching our goal of 50,000 tests a day and stopping the spread of COVID-19.”

Pharmacies may choose to provide testing for Ontarians who have no COVID-19 symptoms. Individuals, within provincial testing guidance, will be able to visit select pharmacies by appointment only, and they will be pre-screened and then tested at no charge.

When visiting a pharmacy Ontarians should continue to follow COVID-19 public health measures, including wearing a face covering, frequent handwashing, and maintaining physical distance from those outside their household or social circle.

Minister Elliot said: “With a recent increase in the number of cases, we are making sure people have more options for testing to identify cases of COVID-19 early. We must not let our guard down. Our best defense is still to follow public health measures.”

The expansion of COVID-19 testing to pharmacies is part of the province’s comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for the second wave of COVID-19.

The Keeping Ontarians Safe plan will:

• Maintain strong public health measures, including the continued expansion of testing;

• Quickly identify, manage and prevent COVID-19 outbreaks;

• Accelerate efforts to reduce health service backlogs;

• Prepare for surges;

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