These are the Edmonton pharmacies testing for COVID-19
Shoppers Drug Mart along with Superstore, Wholesale Club, Extra Foods, No Frills, Independent, and Loblaws City Market are offering asymptomatic COVID-19 testing.
EDMONTON -- Alberta's pharmacy-based asymptomatic COVID-19 testing program is expanding in the coming weeks.
On Monday, the province announced that Shoppers Drug Mart and its parent company Loblaw Canada are opening more of their pharmacies to testing.
Within the next two weeks, all 234 Alberta-based affiliated pharmacies in Loblaw-owned stores will offer COVID-19 testing, including locations of Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstores, Wholesale Club, Extra Foods, Independent and Loblaws City Market.
Those displaying COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to an infected person, should not be tested at a pharmacy, and instead book a test through Alberta Health Services.
Edmontonians can call and confirm appointments at one of the pharmacies on the interactive map below. Note, not all locations are currently offering testing, but will within the next two weeks.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the expansion will increase Alberta's testing capacity by between three and four thousand tests a day.
Dr. Hinshaw has asked teachers and school staff to book tests before students return. She's also asked anyone without COVID-19 symptoms to hold off on getting tested until later in September so as not to overwhelm the system.
Alberta has led Canadian provinces in testing volume, adjusted for population, throughout the summer.
Suhas Thaleshvar, a pharmacist and owner of Medicine Shoppe, says the response has been overwhelming.
"It's amazing…I'm spending all of my time doing the testing."
The pharmacy screens people with appointments before they go inside, checks their temperature and asks them to sanitize their hands and wear a mask.
Thaleshvar says they give results three to four days later.
The Alberta Pharmacists' Association says its members have been receptive to the program since it was announced in July.
"We recognize that pharmacists are interested in playing a broader role in offering public health programs and we've seen that in the past through the flu shot program," said Margaret Wing, APA president.
With files from Amanda Anderson