More than two years after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Yellowknifers are still hard-pressed to find rapid Covid-19 tests in local pharmacies.
Of the six local pharmacies that NNSL Media contacted, only one, the Medicine Shoppe, said it carries rapid Covid tests. The others — Sutherland’s Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, the Loblaw pharmacy, and the pharmacies at Walmart and the Co-op — all said they don’t carry Covid tests.
A spokesperson for the Medicine Shoppe said the tests are provided completely independently of the GNWT, and that there had not been any discussion with the GNWT about providing tests through pharmacies.
Rapid Covid tests are still available in Yellowknife, free of charge, at city hall and the Fieldhouse. At the latter location, those looking for a rapid test, who may be Covid positive, have to share a line at the entrance with those who want to use the Fieldhouse.
Other jurisdictions are a different story. Since February, Ontario has been distributing rapid tests through pharmacies and grocery stores, although supplies are limited to one box of five tests per household. According to that province’s website, tests are available at nearly 3,300 locations. At least three other provinces — B.C., Alberta and Manitoba — have also partnered with local pharmacies to provide rapid Covid tests free of charge.
With the discontinuation of the NWT’s Covid-19 dashboard at the beginning of July, it wasn’t immediately clear how many active cases of Covid-19 there were in the territory. NNSL Media reached out to the Department of Health and Social Services with questions related to Covid cases in the NWT immediately prior to the publication of this article, but responses weren’t immediately available.