Multiple reports disclose that the provincial government will tap Ontario-based Canadian retail pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart to provide COVID-19 testing to high-risk contacts and symptomatic individuals.
The testing expansion scheme was said to have been disseminated through an internal memo for Shoppers Drug Mart staff. According to the notice, the Ministry of Health will “soon be announcing changes to the pharmacy COVID-19 PCR testing program for asymptomatic individuals to allow testing for symptomatic individuals and high-risk contacts.”
Moreover, the memo also stressed that the Ministry of Health is “expanding COVID-19 diagnostic testing options for Ontarians to ensure that anyone who needs a test can get one and get their results as quickly as possible.”
According to additional reports, the testing for symptomatic individuals and high-risk contacts will be conducted in a private space within the Shoppers Drug Mart branches. In addition, the retail pharmacy chain is also slated to improve certain facilities in their branches, like installing HEPA Air Purifiers and increased sanitization to take on the expanded testing program appropriately.
While Ontario Premier Doug Ford did not confirm the said expanded testing program with Shoppers Drug Mart during a press conference on Tuesday, he stressed that pharmacies would do a “fine job” should they be tapped for the said plan.
“We have learned so much over the last 20 months, so we are going to be very cautious,” Ford related. “They’re going to have dedicated lines going into the pharmacy, but we’re going throw everything we can at it, and I think the pharmacies were one of the saviours when it came to making sure that we got people vaccinated.”
Additionally, the Shoppers Drug Mart internal memo divulged that there is still no definite date regarding the implementation of the expanded testing program. However, it was revealed that an appointment is required to avail of the said testing.