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Alberta expanding COVID-19 testing to community pharmacies

Last Updated Jun 25, 2020 at 6:19 pm MDT

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided an update on COVID-19 and the ongoing work to protect public health from Edmonton on June 25, 2020. (Credit: Alberta Government)

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — Alberta Health Services (AHS) is expanding access to COVID-19 testing allowing for pharmacies in the province to throat swab asymptomatic Albertans.

Over the next few days, a number of community pharmacies with the skills and capacity will offer testing to Albertans without symptoms and no known exposure.

“This is an addition to the robust COVID-19 testing already offered province-wide by Alberta Health Services,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday.

“Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals and pharmacies support the health care of residents in their communities every day,” he added.

The pilot project will be conducted in 20 community pharmacies located primarily in Edmonton and Calgary.

Shandro explained this limited number is to see if the pharmacies will be able to handle the capacity and be able to receive the proper training.

“This will help us to ensure here in Alberta that testing materials, data and supports are working well before expanding this imitative further,” he said.

“We’ll add more pharmacies in the coming weeks, and I encourage anyone without symptoms to call their local pharmacies to see if testing will be available there.”

This expansion is being added to the current protocols in place and will not replace the testing system offered by AHS.

“The more test results we have the more we know about how our communities are affected by COVID-19 and the more effectively we can respond,” Shandro said.

If you have symptoms or were exposed to COVID-19 you are asked not to go to pharmacies and instead complete the online assessment or call 811.

Shandro encouraged every Albertan to get tested even if they don’t show symptoms.