Free rapid tests available at pharmacies, grocery stores

To further support the province’s cautious easing of public health measures, the Ontario government has expanded access to free rapid testing kits to the general public for at-home use.

As a result of the province’s direct procurement, Ontario is distributing five million rapid tests weekly for eight weeks through pharmacy and grocery locations across the province, as well as 500,000 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 an eight-week span which started Feb. 9.

“As we continue to carefully ease public health measures, rapid tests are providing another layer of protection and offer the public an additional tool to confidently do the things they love, like visiting family or dining at their favourite local restaurant,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “In addition to the millions of rapid tests deployed each week to support priority settings, including hospitals, long-term care homes and schools, working with our retail and community partners we are increasing access to at-home rapid tests.”

More than 2,300 participating grocery and pharmacy locations are providing 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.

“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.”

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.

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