At least 11 Ottawa pharmacies ready to start COVID-19 testing

The majority of Ottawa pharmacies selected to offer free COVID-19 tests are ready to start swabbing patients on Friday, the companies say. 

Free testing now available to some asymptomatic people by appointment

People line up outside a COVID-19 testing facility in Ottawa on Sept. 15, 2020. The pharmacy program aims to take pressure off testing centres. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

The majority of Ottawa pharmacies selected to offer free COVID-19 tests are ready to start swabbing patients on Friday, the companies say. 

Last week, Premier Doug Ford announced some pharmacies in the province will be allowed to perform the tests for some asymptomatic people by appointment only. 

According to the province, people can get tested for COVID-19 at these pharmacies if they are not showing symptoms and are "eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care."

Ford has been encouraging everyone who feels they need a test, to get one for months, but on Thursday announced COVID-19 assessment and care centres will now focus primarily on people with symptoms of the illness.

For more than a week, Ottawa's test sites have seen long lines of people, many of them families with school-aged children, waiting for tests. Coupled with that, people have had to self-isolate for days, waiting for results

As of Friday, the following pharmacies in Ottawa are allowed to offer tests:

  • Cedarview Pharmacy, 12-4100 Strandherd Dr.
  • Medicine Shoppe, 19-5303 Canotek Rd.
  • Rexall, 1615 Orléans Blvd.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 1-2148 Carling Ave.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 1309 Carling Ave.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 1102 Klondike Rd.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 1937 Portobello Blvd.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 2954 St. Joseph Blvd.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 3940 Innes Rd.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 541 Montreal Rd.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 455 Bank St.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 647 Earl Armstrong Rd.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 1180 Walkley Rd.

The Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall locations will be ready to go Friday, both companies confirmed to CBC. 

Cedarview Pharmacy told CBC they would not be ready Friday, but hope to be ready on Monday. CBC could not reach anyone at The Medicine Shoppe location. 

People outside Ottawa could be making the choice to head to Ottawa's pharmacies for testing, as not everywhere in Ontario has participating pharmacies.

"There are currently no pharmacies in [the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit region] offering asymptomatic testing so we have shared the link to participating pharmacies on our website as another option for testing," said a spokesperson for the health unit. 

"We also share the link to the Ministry of Health website that lists all of the assessment centre locations in Ontario."

Ford has promised to expand the pharmacy testing program in the coming weeks. 

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