Two local pharmacies in Niagara Region and one in Brantford are now offering coronavirus tests to at-risk, asymptomatic people.
The province added the three Shoppers Drug Mart locations to their list of participating stores Tuesday as part of its plan to increase its daily COVID-19 testing capacity.
“Expanding testing to pharmacies is part of our plan to ensure that we are ready for future waves of COVID-19,” Ontario’s health minister and deputy premier, Christine Elliott, said at a press conference Wednesday.
“With a recent increase in the number of cases, we are providing people with more options for testing to identify cases of COVID-19 early.”
The pharmacy rollout is part of the province’s fall preparedness plan which kicked off with the announcement of a $70 million flu shot campaign a week ago.
The stores will feature by-appointment-only tests for people without symptoms.
The locations and operating times are:
- Shoppers Drug Mart at 320 Colborne St. W. (Monday – Sunday: 8 a.m. to midnight)
- Shoppers Drug Mart at 5175 Victoria Ave., Unit #1 (Monday – Sunday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
- Shoppers Drug Mart at 286 Bunting Rd., Unit #22 (Monday – Sunday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Toronto, Ottawa, Brampton, Mississauga, Markham and Huntsville were the first municipalities to see pharmacies offer free testing by appointment only, last week.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health told Global News that although a number of pharmacies have indicated they would be ready to provide testing, the outlets must meet minimum space standards set out by the province.
“Pharmacies must ensure that there is sufficient space that is dedicated to specimen collection,” the ministry said in a statement. “This space should be designed to minimize contact between the specimen collection area and the rest of the commercial area through the use of plexiglass barriers or other physical barriers/markers.”
The ministry went on to say that additional testing sites are being prioritized in regions of the province that are experiencing the greatest number of COVID-19 cases.
For those who have had contact with a known case of COVID-19, are exhibiting symptoms, or are considered to work in ‘high risk’ areas, the province is recommending a test at a local public health facility.
Testing at all local public health units requires an advance booking. For more information on COVID-19 testing, click here.
Testing locations across the Hamilton-Niagara region include:
Brantford Civic Centre Auditorium at 79 Market Street South., (Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Joseph Brant Hospital at 1245 Lakeshore Blvd., (Monday – Sunday: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
West Haldimand General Hospital at 75 Parkview Rd., (Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Hamilton Health Sciences at 690 Main St. W., (Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton at 2757 King St. E., (Monday – Friday: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday – Sunday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena Assessment Centre at 25 Hester St., (Monday – Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) This location is set to close permanently in mid-October.
Milton District Hospital at 725 Bronte St. S., (Monday – Sunday: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m)
Niagara Health Greater Niagara General Site at 5673 North St., (Monday – Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital at 3001 Hospital Gate (Monday – Sunday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
Niagara Health St. Catharines Site at 1200 Fourth Ave., (Monday – Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Niagara Health Welland Hospital Site (WHS) at 65 Third St., (Monday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
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