Effective November 18, 2021, the Ministry of Health launched the Publicly Funded COVID-19 Testing Services in Ontario Pharmacies program which replaces the previous pharmacy testing program for at-risk asymptomatic persons. Through this new program, participating pharmacies can either collect a specimen in pharmacy or handle a specimen self-collected by a patient to be used for laboratory-based PCR testing. Additionally, some pharmacies in Northern Ontario will be able to collect a specimen and perform an in-store point-of-care PCR test.
Pharmacists have been supporting COVID-19 testing in pharmacies since September 2020. Testing in pharmacies plays an important part in increasing access to testing for Ontarians and expanding access to publicly funded COVID-19 testing in pharmacies for symptomatic individuals and close contacts, with the appropriate safety measures as determined by medical and public health experts, will help to protect communities and overall public health.
Pharmacies choosing to participate in this voluntary program must implement and follow infection prevention and control measures to protect staff, patients, and customers against COVID-19. Testing should only be offered when the pharmacy has the capacity and appropriate environment to do so and participating community pharmacies must have processes in place to ensure the protection of their patients, personnel and visitors—especially those who may be a part of a vulnerable population, such as the elderly or those with chronic illnesses.
As OPA works to support the rollout of this new program we will continue to work closely with the government to provide feedback from our members and monitor its safety and effectiveness.
Documentation Form for Pharmacies
This form was created by OPA to support pharmacy professionals with the implementation and operationalization of this expanded testing program. Pharmacies may use this form for the purposes of screening and assessing for eligibility for COVID-19 testing at the pharmacy. This form includes the required fields for documentation to support the clinical assessment and specimen collection components of the pharmacy service. Where applicable, pharmacies should also ensure documentation is completed for the communication of results to a patient if positive and/or if the patient was unable to access results online.
Ministry of Health
Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP):