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Would you get a COVID-19 test at a pharmacy? Many Canadians comfortable with idea, survey finds

Last Updated Sep 18, 2020 at 10:22 am MDT

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Many Canadians say they'd feel safer going back to work if they could get a COVID-19 test from a pharmacist

CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association says a number of factors need to be considered to bring testing to pharmacies

It appears many Canadians say they would feel safer returning to work and sending their kids back to school if pharmacists were allowed to administer COVID-19 tests in their province.

According to a survey commissioned by the Canadian Pharmacists Association, 41 per cent of Canadians say they are more likely to get tested for the coronavirus if the service were available at a local pharmacy.

In addition to that, 75 per cent of Canadians polled have said they would be comfortable receiving a COVID-19 test from a pharmacist, while 68 per cent said they’d be OK with getting a test done at a community pharmacy.

The findings also suggest most Canadians — 90 per cent — haven’t been tested for COVID-19, and that testing for the virus is highest in Alberta and Quebec.

Furthermore, most respondents have said they don’t intend to get tested, despite a quarter of people taking the survey saying they think they’ll either likely or definitely need a test in the next six months or so.

“Four in ten feel they are unlikely to or definitely will not need/want to get a COVID-19 test in the next 6 month – 32% are unsure at the point,” the survey has found.

What would it take to bring testing to pharmacies

Justin Bates, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, tells 570 NEWS there are a lot of things to consider in order to bring testing to pharmacies.

“First and foremost, we want to keep the patients and pharmacy staff safe,” he said, “So access to personal protective equipment is top of mind. We’re thinking about how to optimally implement the service, to have potentially a seperate room, appointment-based type of scheduling so we can manage the influx of patients at the store.”

He said in Ontario, they are working on putting in guidelines regarding sanitation, and where they would begin rolling out the service.

“Where would it start? How many stores would participate?” Bates asked, “I think it makes a lot of sense to start in the hotspots.”

Bates said in order to increase testing, they also need to make sure there isn’t a bottleneck on either side.

“So while we increase the patient convenience and access to testing, we also need to ensure that the capacity to deliver the test results in less than 48 hours is still maintained,” he said, “That’s the model in Alberta. They have a turnaround time of less than 48 hours from the collection of the sample.”

Find the full survey results here: