Pharmacist Peter Lam, of Peter’s Pharmacy Compounding and Home Health in Red Deer, said Rapid Response COVID-19 Antigen test kits are a popular request at his pharmacy. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Pharmacist Peter Lam, of Peter’s Pharmacy Compounding and Home Health in Red Deer, said Rapid Response COVID-19 Antigen test kits are a popular request at his pharmacy. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Demand high for rapid test kits in Red Deer

More supply expected at the end of the week

Rapid test kits for COVID-19 are high on the holiday wishlist for Red Deerians.

Pharmacist Peter Lam, of Peter’s Pharmacy, Compounding and Home Health, said people were calling to find out if he had the tests about about every five minutes on Tuesday.

“I didn’t expect there’d be a huge demand for it. Apparently there is,” Lam said.

“Some places are out. It just depends where you go. I’ve got tons.”

On Friday, rapid tests kits were made available for free to help protect Albertans and the health-care system against the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Kits are available on a first come, first serve basis. According to Alberta government website, each kit contains five rapid tests because it takes time for your body to develop enough protein to be detectable by a rapid test after being exposed to COVID-19. Repeated screening can help detect infection as soon as possible.

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Lam said his pharmacy was limiting the kits to people age 18 and over because of the restricted supply. More kits were expected to come in at the end of the week.

The province is limiting one kit per person/health care number within a 14-day period.

Albertans have been able to pick up BTNX rapid test kits from 700 select pharmacies in Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer, and 140 select Alberta Health Services sites in other communities. To find a location, visit alberta.ca/CovidRapidTests. As more tests become available from Health Canada, more locations will be added.

Albertans can pick up one additional box for another person(s) who cannot pick one up themselves provided they have each individual’s health care number, their name and date of birth.

Rapid test kits cannot be used for the Restrictions Exemption Program. Unvaccinated people must pay to obtain proof of a negative test result through a private vendor or pharmacy to gain admission.

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Lam said in addition to the tests, people have also been asking about medical-grade masks, which are also available at his pharmacy, after reports that cloth masks were not as effective against the new variant.

Many people want to gather for Christmas, he said.

“We just want people to test before they gather. At least going into the meal, everyone is negative.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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