- ‘It felt improvised and dystopian,’ says an Ontarian who waited in vain.
- Canadians across the country are rushing to accept COVID-19 rapid tests as the Omicron variant spreads, only to be met with limited supplies and confusing rollouts.
Lines at Ontario liquor stores (LCBO) are expected during the holiday season, but many were looking for tests on Friday at locations across the province.
Over the holidays, the provincial government has announced that two million rapid tests will be made general for free at pop-up testing sites in high-traffic areas such as malls, retail settings, holiday markets, public libraries, and transit hubs, as well as select LCBO locations.
However, David Brennan arrived at an LCBO location in Ottawa shortly before 9 a.m. ET to discover that none were available.
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“The parking lot was full,” he said. “When the man with the sign came out, there were audible groans of disappointment. After that, everything felt improvised and dystopian.”
The Ministry of Health’s pop-up holiday webpage or the LCBO’s press materials stated that tests would be obtainable at LCBOs beginning on Friday.
Shipments had arrived at some locations by late Friday morning, and a select few were able to snag tests before the LCBO announced on Twitter at 7:21 p.m. ET that its supply had run out.
Shortages have also been reported in Alberta, where the provincial government says that select pharmacies and Alberta Health Services sites are now dispensing tests.
Mohamed Elfishawi, the owner of two Edmonton pharmacies, described the lines as “crazy huge.” Some provinces have already made rapid rest areas available to residents, while others plan to do so soon.
People in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan have been able to get free tests by going to public places such as health centers, pop-up testing sites, or libraries.
Meanwhile, Quebec will begin dispensing 10 million tests in pharmacies across the province on Monday, and Manitoba will receive an initial shipment of 110,000 tests, distributed to students in kindergarten through Grade 6 in First Nations schools.
Source: CBC News
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