Drugstores ramp up COVID-19 testing as part of health-care push amid pandemic

Drugstores ramp up COVID-19 testing as part of health-care push amid pandemic
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Drugstores in Alberta will offer in-store coronavirus tests at hundreds of locations by next month and are pushing to provide them in other provinces as pharmacies expand their health-care presence amid the pandemic.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. says it will run viral testing for asymptomatic patients at all 234 of its Alberta pharmacies, located at Shoppers Drug Mart, Independent Foods and other stores.

The company says it has reached out to all 10 provinces to discuss in-store testing, with Ontario Premier Doug Ford acknowledging the possibility down the line.

Theresa Firestone, head of health and wellness at Shoppers, says its swab tests are only for those without symptoms or known contact with coronavirus patients and may be useful for teachers returning to school or Canadians who take care of an older family member.

London Drugs also conducts COVID-19 tests in Alberta, having offered the service at six locations for the past two weeks with plans to roll it out at nine more by October.

Chris Chiew, head of pharmacy at the Richmond, B.C.-based retailer, says the service builds on other responses to the pandemic such as online pharmacist consultations and a pilot program where patients consult virtually with doctors in a private room in the store.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 26, 2020.

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The Canadian Press

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