Some London pharmacies will start COVID-19 testing next week

After originally being left out of the province's plans to expand COVID-19 testing to pharmacies, select London pharmacies will begin offering tests for people who don't have symptoms.

After leaving London out, province opts to expand pharmacy testing for people without symptoms

London's two public COVID-19 assessment centres have been overrun at times this week. On Friday staff at the Oakridge assessment centre had to turn people away even before the site had opened. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

Select London pharmacies will begin offering COVID-19 tests by appointment and to people without symptoms as early as next week, Mayor Ed Holder announced Friday. 

Specific locations haven't been revealed.

Earlier this week the provincial government announced that about 60 pharmacies would begin COVID-19 testing at locations in the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa and Huntsville.  London was left out despite hours-long waits that had the city's two public assessment centres reaching capacity by the afternoon or earlier on most days this week.  

That prompted Holder to call Premier Doug Ford to alert him about the "dire need" for more testing capacity in London. 

"Londoners simply need more options," said Holder in a statement.  "Providing pharmacies in our city with the necessary resources to conduct COVID-19 tests will certainly assist in reducing extreme wait times at our Oakridge and Carling Heights assessment centres."

Holder said he expects select London pharmacies to start offering tests as early as Tuesday, with more locations in the city to be announced soon. 

Pharmacies won't be testing everyone though. 

To be tested at a pharmacy, visitors must: 

  • Be a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19. 
  • Live or work in an at-risk setting such as a long-term care home, homeless shelter or other congregate setting.
  • Plan to be visiting a long-term care home. 
  • Be a worker or resident of a specific outbreak site, including a long-term care home, retirement home or school.
  • Be eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative as determined by the Ministry of Health or Ministry of Long-term Care, similar to the earlier campaign to target long-term care homes.

COVID-19 tests at pharmacies are by appointment only.


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