Elliott: Rapid Tests Coming Soon to a Grocery Store Near You

Starting Wednesday, getting a rapid test in Ontario will be (theoretically) as easy as visiting your local grocery store or pharmacy. At a Kitchener Walmart this morning, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced that the Province will be making five million free rapid tests available each week for the next eight weeks at over 2,300 participating outlets including 30 right here in Guelph.

“As we continue to carefully ease public health measures, rapid tests are providing another layer of protection and offer the public an additional tool to confidently do the things they love, like visiting family or dining at their favourite local restaurant,” said Elliot in a statement. “In addition to the millions of rapid tests deployed each week to support priority settings, including hospitals, long-term care homes and schools, working with our retail and community partners we are increasing access to at-home rapid tests.”

One box of five tests will be made available to each household per visit, and an additional 500,000 each week will be made available through community partners for vulnerable communities. It was barely a month ago that Ontarians were forced to line-up at select LCBOs and other other designated locations, sometimes for hours, in order to pick-up a rapid test. Elliott assured the public though that this time it’s different.

“We know that we’re in a much different situation this time because of the quantities of the tests that we’re receiving. Last time, it was a total of two million tests that were taken from the shelves very, very quickly,” Elliott said. “We also have the ability to find people that are obtaining tests they don’t need and are trying to sell them online, but with the vast quantities now available, it would appear that there’s not going to be much of a secondary market because people can obtain them quite readily.”

Rapid tests are a good start, but antigen tests in Ontario are still limited to populations who are most vulnerable to catching COVID-19 like staff and patients at hospitals and long-term care homes. Elliott said that as they get more antigen tests, the government will look at expanding that availability as well.

“As we receive more tests, we may re-examine that, but we believe that these rapid tests are going to be very helpful to the general public, as well as to many businesses that need to have people tested before they come into work right now,” Elliott said.

So does this mean that Ontario will soon be announcing the complete relaxation of COVID restrictions like Alberta and Saskatchewan? Elliott says not so fast.

“We have said from the beginning that we want to ease restrictions as soon as it’s safe to do so, but we’re doing it in a very cautious and prudent way, and we are seeing the case counts come down in the hospitals, thank goodness,” Elliott said. “We are trending in the right direction, and we are working to ensure that this trend continues, but we want to remove restrictions as soon as we can based on the recommendations of the chief medical officer of health and the scientists that understand these trends very well.”

You can get your box of rapid tests in Guelph at the following locations:

  • Campus Pharmacy, 35 Harvard Road
  • Costco Pharmacy, 19 Elmira Road South
  • Food Basics, 380 Eromosa Road
  • Food Basics, 222 Silvercreek Parkway North
  • Food Basics, 3 Clair Road West
  • Gordon Pharmacy, 1515 Gordon Street
  • Guelph Discount Pharmacy, 7-20 Woodlawn Road East
  • Kortright Pharmacy, 570 Kortright Road West
  • Life Care Edinburgh Pharmacy, B4B-492 Edinburgh Road South
  • Metro. 500 Edinburgh Road South
  • Pharma Plus, 55 Wyndham Street
  • Pharma Plus, 265 Eramosa Road
  • Pharmore Pharmacy, 21 Yarmout Street
  • Prime Care Pharmacy Arboretum, 281 Stone Road East
  • Rexall Pharma Plus, 140-666 Woolwich Street
  • Royal City Pharmacy, 84 Gordon Street
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 88 Clair Road East
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 375 Eramosa Road
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 615 Scottsdale Drive
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 104 Silvercreek Parkway North
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, K4-435 Stone Road West
  • Speedvale Pharmacy, 334 Speedvale Avenue East
  • University Square Pharmacy, 8-987 Gordon Street
  • Walmart, 175 Stone Road West
  • Walmart, 11 Woodlawn Road West
  • Westminster Square Remedy’s Rx, 4-33 Farley Drive
  • Westwood Pharmacy, 30-500 Willow Road
  • Willow Pharmacy, 47 Willow Road
  • Woodlawn Pharmacy, 472 Woodlawn Road East
  • Wyndham Pharmasave, 101-45 Wyndham Street North
  • Zehrs, 124 Clair Road East
  • Zehrs, 297 Eramosa Road
  • Zehrs, 160 Kortright Road West
  • Zehrs, 1045 Paisley Road

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