FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Feb. 9, 2022
PORT DOVER — To further support the province’s easing of public health measures, the Ontario government is expanding access to free rapid testing kits to the general public for at-home use.
As a result of the province’s direct procurement, Ontario will be distributing 5 million rapid tests each week for eight weeks through pharmacy and grocery locations, including several locations in Haldimand-Norfolk. As well, 500,000 will be distributed each week through community partners in vulnerable communities. In total, the province is making 44 million rapid tests available to the public for free over the coming weeks.
Starting February 9, over 2,300 participating grocery and pharmacy locations will provide free rapid tests while supplies last, with a limit of one box of five tests per household per visit. Participating retailers will receive additional supply from the province each week and have the ability to determine how tests are distributed in order to best serve the community, including through appointment bookings, at checkout or through online orders. A list of participating retailers as well as information on how retail locations are distributing rapid test kits can be found at Ontario.ca/rapidtest or by calling local pharmacies.
“Providing expanded access to testing for Ontarians will support the province’s cautious approach to easing public health measures,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “While testing is a critical component in our response to COVID-19, vaccination remains the best defence against the virus and its variants. Over the next few months, we need to continue following the public health measures that remain in place and vaccinate those who have yet to receive their doses to protect our communities and health care system capacity.”
- Free rapid tests provided by the government are intended for personal use. The province can fine any businesses and individuals who may be in breach of the government’s emergency order which prohibits charging unfair prices for necessary goods.
- A person who tests positive on a rapid antigen test is no longer required or encouraged to get a confirmatory PCR or rapid molecular test. If you test positive on a PCR, rapid molecular or a rapid antigen test, you must isolate. Visit Ontario.ca/exposed to learn more about isolation directions.
- As part of the Provincial Antigen Screening Program, 3.62 million rapid antigen tests are being shipped biweekly to the education and child care sectors for use when children or staff are symptomatic.
- PCR testing is available for eligible individuals at over 250 assessment centres or community labs, in addition to over 760 participating pharmacies, many of which offer pick-up/drop-off of self-collection kits. Visit Ontario.ca/covidtestinglocations to find a testing location.
- On January 31, 2022, Ontario began its cautious and phased approach to easing public health measures, including increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in select indoor public settings as well as increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
- Ontario has received a limited supply of Paxlovid from the federal government and is prioritizing treatment for individuals at the highest risk of severe outcomes. Visit Ontario’s webpage to learn if you are eligible to receive COVID-19 antiviral treatment and where to get it.
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]