No Windsor-Essex pharmacies on first list for COVID-19 testing
In this July 23, 2020 file photo, health care workers prepare a COVID-19 test sample before a person self-administered a test at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Miami-Dade County Auditorium in Miami. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- There are no Windsor-Essex pharmacies on the province’s preliminary list to start offering COVID19 testing.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says up to 60 pharmacies across Ontario will begin to offer COVID-19 tests starting Friday.
Most of the pharmacies are in Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and Ottawa.
Ford says the initiative will reduce pressure on the province's 147 assessment centres, some of which have seen long line-ups in recent weeks.
There are two assessment centres in Windsor and one in Leamington.
While many other areas of the province are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, Windsor-Essex has had relatively low case counts in the past few weeks. There were only two new COVID-19 cases in the region on Wednesday.
The selected pharmacies will only test individuals with no symptoms after they have made an appointment.
Ford also says three Ontario hospitals will begin offering saliva testing as a less invasive testing option.
The testing initiative is the second part of the government's fall pandemic preparedness plan. The first piece involved purchasing millions of seasonal flu shots that the government is encouraging all residents to get.
Ontario reported 335 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, along with three new deaths related to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 102 cases reported in Toronto, 79 in Peel Region and 65 in Ottawa. She said 69 per cent of the new cases are in people under the age of 40.
With files from a report by The Canadian Press that was first published Sept. 23, 2020.