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'Stay tuned:' Ford says conversations are taking place with pharmacies about COVID-19 testing
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, June 3, 2020 7:28AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 3, 2020 4:52PM EDT
Premier Doug Ford says that discussions are taking place with major pharmacy chains as the province continues to work to find ways to ramp up testing for COVID-19.
U.S. pharmacy chain CVS Health recently announced that it would double the number of test sites it is operating at select drive-thru locations across New York State to 72 as part of an earlier commitment to establish 1,000 of the sites nationwide.
While similar partnerships have not been formed with pharmacies in Canada at this point, Premier Doug Ford told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday that it is a “good model” and something that could be and may be done here.
“We are in conversations right now with some of the largest pharmacies and just stay tuned over the next little while and we will be possibly rolling that out, if that comes to fruition,” he said.
Following Ford’s remarks, Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa was asked about the matter. She said this was the first time she had heard of it.
“I think the important part here is actually having a testing strategy that takes into consideration the best available evidence, other than that, making sure that the testing providers… have the necessary equipment and the necessary skills to provide those tests and ensuring that the tests are made available to those who would most benefit from those tests,” she said.
“I would further suggest, however, that testing is only one element of the strategy. We do have to continue to maintain that physical distancing and those public health measures because it’s the sum total of all the elements of the response that actually bring about the desired effect, which is control and containment of the disease.”
The province has the capacity to turn around more than 20,000 tests per day but it has, at times, struggled to reach that threshold.
Last month the daily number of tests conducted in Ontario dropped considerably, at one point going as low as 5,813. The numbers, however, have slowly climbed back up and on Tuesday the province conducted more than 17,000 individual tests.