Ontario might soon allow for residents to get COVID-19 testing at pharmacies to help with the long lineups at testing centres.
During the province’s daily press conference on Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford responded to questions on the lineups seen at assessment centres and called them “ridiculous” while adding that his government is “on it” to fix the problem.
According to Ford, one of the ways the lineups could be reduced is testing asymptomatic individuals at pharmacies, which could be officially announced in the coming days.
“I am not going to say that 100%, but I can tell you we are all over it. I had a personal call with the CEO of Shoppers today, and I don’t want to just mention Shoppers, because there are other great pharmacies out there that are willing to jump in, but we are doing everything we can to move this forward rapidly,” the premier said.
“Just stay tuned over the next day or two and we will have an announcement. I just don’t want to announce anything until all the ducks are in a row there.”
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Health Minister Christine Elliott said that Ontario health officials were expecting lineups at assessment centres during this time, especially with students going back to school, but did not anticipate lineups to be this long.
“The good news here is that people are going to be tested. If they have concerns, if they have some symptoms, if they feel that they have been in touch with somebody with COVID-19, we want them to be tested,” Elliot said.
“But they also deserve to be tested in a timely manner, and we are aware that there are some significant lineups in many parts of Ontario. We are looking at the best way to address those issues whether it be through pharmacies, through labs, or other ways to enhance our assessment facilities.”
If asymptomatic people can get tested at some pharmacies then Ford said it will take “the burden off” of assessment centres and hospitals.