Premier Doug Ford announced that 18 more pharmacies will be opening next week for asymptotic testing, in addition to the 60 that opened today.
On Friday, Ford said that the 18 new pharmacies will begin testing on September 29.
“I’ve got to give out a shoutout to pharmacies, especially Shoppers,” Ford said.
He also said that it will be expanding to more cities in southwestern Ontario including: St. Catharines, Niagara, London, Windsor, Sarnia, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock and St. Thomas.
“And we will be expanding to more in the coming weeks,” the premier said.
Up to 60 pharmacies began opening their doors today to do asymptomatic testing for individuals in high-risk environments like frontline workers to healthcare professionals.
The province is no longer testing asymptomatic people who have not had contact with COVID-19 cases or outbreaks, and are not in high-risk workplaces.
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Ford also announced that the Ontario government is investing $741 million to help clear the backlog of surgeries and build more capacity in the health care system to manage surges and outbreaks in COVID-19 cases.
Specifically, Ontario is investing up to $283.7 million to support additional priority surgeries including cancer, cardiac, cataract, and orthopaedic procedures.
They are also adding an additional 139 critical care beds and 1,349 additional hospital beds across the province to support more surgical procedures.
The province will also be expanding access to virtual emergency department services and giving patients the option of virtual pre- and post-surgery appointments.
The Ontario government is going to increase home and community care service volumes by investing $100 million to add an additional 484,000 nursing and therapy visits and 1.4 million personal support worker hours.
This is part of the province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19.
So far, Ford has announced an investment of $1.07 billion for expanding coronavirus testing, with case and contact management.
The premier also said the province would invest $70 million for the flu vaccine, urging everyone to get the shot. Subsequent announcements included a new plan for asymptomatic testing to occur in up to 60 pharmacies across the province.