One of four Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy locations in Lethbridge, Alta., has been selected to provide asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, according to its owner.
The province announced the pilot project on June 25, which saw 20 pharmacies across the province start offering testing for anyone without symptoms of the virus. The move was made in an effort to make testing more accessible.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced last month the locations were mostly in Calgary and Edmonton.
However, the province did not disclose which locations were selected, to avoid overwhelming the individual pharmacies.
Vishal Sukhadiya, pharmacist and owner of the selected Medicine Shoppe location in Lethbridge, says the business feels ready to let residents know about the new service.
Anyone with symptoms is not permitted to partake in the testing at the pharmacies.
Asymptomatic individuals can still book a test through AHS.
Sukhadiya says they started conducting the throat swabs on Tuesday, and completed 20 tests by the end of Friday. He says none have come back positive so far, with results arriving within about two days.
He says increasing testing among asymptomatic individuals will help the medical community better understand the virus.
“We want to understand the prevalence of the disease,” Sukhadiya explained. “How it is prevalent in different communities around Alberta.”
“In a long-term strategy, it will also reduce a little bit of load from the Alberta Health screening centres.”
After receiving an email from RxA (Alberta Pharmacists’ Association), Sukhadiya believes the names of other pharmacies providing the testing will be released starting next week “once everyone is comfortable.”
The Medicine Shoppe encourages anyone wanting to book a test to call the location directly.