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Ontario expands virus testing to pharmacies

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

DURHAM/KAWARTHA: The Ontario provincial government is allowing testing for COVID-19 to be conducted in pharmacies. The announcement was made by provincial officials on Wednesday, September 23rd. “Expanding testing to pharmacies is part of our plan to ensure we are ready for future waves of COVID-19. With the recent increase in the number of cases, we are providing people with more options for testing, to identify cases of COVID-19 early,” Ontario health minister Christine Elliott said, during a press conference. As of Friday, September 25th, up to 60 locations were allowed to begin offering testing to the public “by appointment only.” While the majority of those locations were in areas like: Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Toronto and Huntsville, the province stated, in a press release, further locations will be “coming online in the coming weeks.” However, the Port Perry Shoppers Drug Mart store is not expected to be one of those locations anytime soon. “We will not be a COVID testing centre for the foreseeable future,” read an email response from store owner Saeed Zafar Ali. Lindsay Shoppers Drug Mart store owner, Mahvash Noorbakhsh, explained to The Standard the process the company is going through. “Shoppers Drug Mart will be launching an Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing program in 43 stores across the province. Mostly it is starting in [the] GTA and Ottawa, not yet in our store.” 

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