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Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing possible for more local pharmacies

More local pharmacies could atart doing asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says it will be expanded into any community pharmacy that wishes to make it available.

Last month, Alberta Health Services began a pilot project to provide people with asymptomatic testing at select community pharmacies. The only pharmacy offering asymptomatic testing in Grande Prairie is the Shoppers Drug Mart located on 78th Avenue.

Hinshaw says the project was initially kept small in order to allow the process to be refined. Now, it’s ready to expand.

“This project was a success. More than 10,000 people were safely tested at the pilot pharmacies in the past month,” she says. “Based on this success we’re expanding the program to any pharmacy that wants to offer testing and is able to meet the safety requirements.”

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Hinshaw adds that pharmacies will be able to begin testing as soon as they are enrolled in the program, and receive the necessary testing equipment from Alberta Precision Labs.

“I have heard that many are excited to access testing closer to home, and many pharmacies are looking forward to providing this critical service, however, I am asking Albertans to be patient for the first few weeks,” she says.

It may take time for local pharmacies to be approved to begin testing, and receive the necessary equipment. The program is voluntary and some pharmacies may elect not to participate.

AHS will continue to offer testing across the province, and, according to Hinshaw, is working to reduce wait times. A list of all pharmacies currently providing testing has been made available online.

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