Loblaws pharmacies to offer more COVID-19 testing as province confirms 89 new cases

Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw gives her daily COVID-19 briefing at the Alberta Legislature's Federal Building in Edmonton, on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

As teachers and school staff are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 before the school year kicks off, Alberta Health Services is expanding its partnership with Loblaws Canada to offer more asymptomatic testing at pharmacies.

Many pharmacies at Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstore and other Loblaws locations in communities across the province will allow for Alberta’s 90,000 teachers and school staff to get tested with greater efficiency.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said the number of tests done is expected to surge in the next two weeks as teaching staff prepares for school.

“Overall, it increases Alberta’s testing capacity by about 3,000 to 4,000 tests per day,” said Hinshaw during Tuesday’s press conference.

Another 8,027 tests were completed by Alberta Health Services in the past 24 hours, and 89 new cases of COVID-19 were detected.

AHS has confirmed 12,419 cases of the novel coronavirus in the province and there have been 11,025 recoveries.

“We are currently sitting at an average of about two new cases per 100,000 population over the past week per day,” says Hinshaw.

She says we need to strive to ensure community transmission remains low to minimize the risk for children and teachers when they return to schools.

There are 48 people in hospital, including 11 requiring intensive care.

Another death from COVID-19 was recorded in Alberta — a man in his 80s from the South zone who was not connected to an outbreak at a continuing care facility. This brings the death toll in the province to 225.

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