The Ford government announced a major expansion of COVID-19 testing which will now be conducted in several pharmacies across the province.
Government officials say that as of Friday, up to 60 pharmacies in Ontario will begin offering testing by appointment only, with further locations coming online in the coming weeks. The government says this initiative will expand testing capacity well beyond the province’s 150 assessment centres.
“I have to thank Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, and the independent pharmacies who have stepped up in a big way to help expand testing to more people in the province,” Ford said.
“With everyone pitching in, 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 will be tested at no charge.
“We need to make it easier to get a COVID test, as it is, easier to get a flu shot. We need to make sure the COVID-19 test is just as easy,” Ford added.
For a full list of which pharmacies across the GTA are eligible for COVID-19 testing, click here.
More saliva tests on the way?
Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, says the province must ‘not let our guard down’ urging everyone to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Ford also announced that three of Ontario’s hospitals will begin saliva testing for COVID-19, including Mount Sinai in Toronto.
Starting Friday Sept 25, up to 60 pharmacy sites will provide free testing, by appointment only, to Ontarians who do not have #COVID19 symptoms. Pharmacies will also pre-screen in advance to ensure no one is entering the store with COVID-19 symptoms.https://t.co/LtW8rbDXVN pic.twitter.com/Iv2KdlT0pS
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) September 23, 2020
Ford pleaded for a response from Health Canada, asking for assistance and approval to develop more of these initiatives to help contain the second wave.
Ontario reported a dip in new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, with 335 confirmed province-wide.
Testing remains high, with Elliott confirming health officials administered over 35,000 of them.