Manitoba pharmacists can perform rapid COVID tests: health minister

Pharmacies can now offer rapid COVID-19 tests to Manitobans travelling outside the province. File

Pharmacists will be able to perform rapid COVID-19 tests for those travelling outside of Manitoba, the province announced Monday.

Health minister Audrey Gordon said the announcement means rapid antigen tests and rapid molecular (non-PCR) tests can be performed at Manitoba pharmacies, although the pharmacies will be responsible for training staff, acquiring supplies, and advertising the tests.

“These measures enable pharmacists to expand services for all Manitobans by performing, interpreting and providing results of these tests to people who require a negative test to travel,” said Gordon.

“This is an important change that builds capacity and provides more options for travellers.”

Read more: Manitoba vaccine requirements likely to be in place until spring: top doctor

In order to get a rapid test, travellers will need to present documentation of their trip to pharmacists, which could include a hotel booking or plane tickets. Those taking the tests will also have to pay a fee — set by the individual pharmacies — as travel-related health services aren’t an insured health benefit.

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“Pharmacists are looking forward to, again, positively contributing to important measures that will help Manitobans return to their normal activities, including travel,” said Pharmacists Manitoba president Ashley Hart.

“This pandemic has created important opportunities for pharmacists to serve the public in new ways and to demonstrate the opportunity for Manitobans to be even further supported by their local pharmacist.

“Participating pharmacies will be working hard in the coming days and weeks to make this service available in communities across the province.”

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