Pharmacist Peter Lam, of Peter’s Pharmacy Compounding and Home Health in Red Deer, said he quickly ran out of Rapid Response COVID-19 Antigen test kits for the public before Christmas. (File photo Advocate staff)

Pharmacist Peter Lam, of Peter’s Pharmacy Compounding and Home Health in Red Deer, said he quickly ran out of Rapid Response COVID-19 Antigen test kits for the public before Christmas. (File photo Advocate staff)

Red Deer pharmacists wait for new supply of rapid COVID-19 test kits

Rapid COVID tests still available to employers to keep employees safe

Free rapid COVID test kits for the general public may be impossible to find, but a Red Deer pharmacist says kits are still available for businesses to test employees.

Pharmacist Peter Lam, of Peter’s Pharmacy, Compounding and Home Health, said his supply for the public was snapped up before Christmas within about three days.

He said pharmacies were suppose to receive more kits this week, but Alberta Health Services has alerted him that’s not happening.

“They sent out an email saying it got delayed and they don’t have a time frame as to when they will be available,” Lam said.

Related:

Red Deer at 1,051 active COVID-19 cases

He said he receives about 20 to 30 calls daily from customers wanting kits.

“When (AHS) made that announcement that they were going to send out 9.5 million to schools, I think that totally changed the game for the pharmacies. I kind of feel sorry for (AHS) because they’re making some tough decisions. There’s only a set number of kits available. I’m sure they’re under stress. But it’s definitely frustrating for clients.”

On Monday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced that only Albertans with clinical risk factors for severe outcomes, including pregnant women, and those who live and work in high-risk settings, were now eligible for PCR lab tests. Before that, those cases had been the priority for testing but those who did not have access to rapid tests could still book a PCR test.

Lam said employers can still access test kits for their employees by applying online to Health Canada. Under the program for employers with with 1 to 199 workers, kits can be picked up at select Red Deer pharmacists.

He said in the last two months, only about six employers have accessed those kits at his pharmacy.

“I’m not sure people know about it.”

Accessing the affordable program would mean workers won’t have to go searching for kits, which takes a load off the rest of the system, he said.

Related:

Provinces to receive large shipments of rapid tests this month: prime minister

Red Deer’s active COVID-19 case count continues to rise.

As of Tuesday, the city added 49 new infections and the total number of active cases had reached 1,051.

Alberta reported 4,704 new cases on Tuesday, which did not include the results of rapid tests. The active case count for the province was at 58,613, up from 57,332 on Monday.

Eight additional deaths reported Tuesday — none in Central zone — due to the implications of COVID-19 and the death toll in the province is 3,352.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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