Ontario has reported 1,254 new cases of COVID-19 within the last two days, bringing the province’s total to more than 50,000 cases.
This increase comes following the announcement that several provinces would make appointment-only testing for COVID-19 available in up to 60 pharmacies across the country. The plan’s intent was to help relieve assessment centres from overcrowding.
“We rely on our pharmacists for our flu shots, prescriptions, and important health advice for ourselves and our families. It makes sense to engage them as key partners in delivering more COVID-19 testing,” said Premier Ford during a press conference last week.
Since pharmacies have begun testing for COVID-19, the province has seen a huge spike in numbers. On Monday, the province recorded 700 its highest total of new cases in a single day, 344 cases in Toronto.
France Gelinas, a member of the New Democrats and the vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts says, that the testing of COVID in pharmacies gives people the opportunity to get tested without having to wait hours.
“People always find ways to avoid doing the things that aren’t fun,” she said. “Making these tests more available gives people the opportunity to get tested when they may not have had the chance too before.
Other provinces made changes to testing as Canada works to safeguard its citizens. Alberta, just like Ontario, is now testing for COVID-19 at pharmacies and British Columbia has implemented a new swish-and-spit form of testing to limit the number of nasal testings the province conducts, which helps test young children.
Anthony Christie, a Guelph-Humber business student, is optimistic that the changes made by the province of Ontario will be beneficial and help people realize that COVID-19 is still very much so relevant and anyone can get it.
“I’m hoping that the changes that Premier Ford implements over the next couple of days will show people that COVID is still going on”, he said. “All these people are continuously going out and it isn’t helping out anyone, all it’s doing is making things worst for ourselves.”
Some changes have already come into effect in Ontario as strip clubs, bars and restaurants have cut their operating hours from 2 a.m. to 12 a.m. Malls will be cutting their hours of operation as well to limit the number of consumers that are in and out of stores throughout the day.
“It’s a good start,” Christie said. “But I feel like more can be done to keep us healthy.”