October 1st, 2020

Alberta slowly begins COVID-19 testing in pharmacies

By GILLIAN SLADE on June 30, 2020.

A local pharmacist fills a prescription in this October 2017 file photo. Alberta Health is opening up COVID-19 testing at pharmacies, though initially only a group of about 20 in Calgary and Edmonton will participate.--NEWS FILE PHOTO

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

Alberta Health is now making COVID-19 tests available at pharmacies.

Pharmacist practitioners who prescribe and vaccinate will now also be able to administer COVID-19 tests for asymptomatic individuals.

Initially it is a group of about 20 pharmacies in Edmonton and Calgary who will offer this. The pharmacy test is a throat swab, which is sent to Alberta Precision Labs for analysis.

Alberta Health says the number of pharmacies participating initially is limited to ensure the processes are working well before expanding the program. Additional pharmacies are planning to offer testing in the coming weeks.

Only those who are asymptomatic and have no known exposures to COVID-19 can be tested at participating pharmacies.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms must complete the COVID-19 self-assessment or call Health Link 811.

All Albertans are encouraged to be tested, even if they don’t have symptoms.

Test kits for pharmacies are being produced and analyzed by Alberta Precision Laboratories.

AHS will contact anyone who tests positive to discuss the results, begin contact tracing and protect others.

“Whether you have symptoms or not, please consider getting tested. You are helping us understand more about the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.

More than 415,000 COVID tests have been completed across the province for 367,000 Albertans so far during the pandemic.

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