This Friday, COVID-19 pharmacy testing in Ontario is set to begin at 60 locations. However, it won’t be as easy as just walking in and getting a test. There are certain criteria that set it apart from the assessment centres we have now. 

First and foremost, you'll need to make an appointment beforehand.

Also, not everyone who requires a test will be able to get one. You will only be eligible for a free pharmacy test if you are not showing symptoms of COVID-19.

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Health Minister Christine Elliott elaborated on this in a media briefing on Wednesday.

“Beginning this Friday, [...] pharmacies will be providing testing for Ontarians with no COVID-19 symptoms," she said.

"Individuals who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 will be able to visit these select pharmacies by appointment only for free testing."

Symptomatic Ontarians must continue to get tested at regular assessment centres or hospitals.

Rexall and Shoppers Drug Mart will host most of the pharmacy testing centres, according to the provincial government.

Some of the locations included are in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Markham, Ottawa, Huntsville and Orleans. The full list can be found here.

The need to increase testing has been accompanied by a significant increase in new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases, prompting officials to speculate that Ontario may be facing its second wave.

This week, Ford's government has been rolling out its six-pillar plan to combat disease transmission this fall.

The first two parts of the plan were a flu vaccination campaign and the announcement of pharmacy testing.

To date, Ontario has conducted a total of 3,649,980 COVID-19 tests.

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