KITCHENER -- The province says plans are underway to expand its COVID-19 testing to 18 more pharmacies across the province, including Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford and Stratford.

Premier Doug Ford made that announcement on Friday, saying select locations would start conducting tests on Tuesday.

As of Sunday, no specifics have released about those proposed locations.

Other cities included in Friday’s announcement were Woodstock, St. Thomas, St. Catherine's, Niagara Falls, London, Windsor, Sarnia, Bright's Grove and Chatham.

Testing has already begun at 60 pharmacies in the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa and Brampton.

Ford says allowing pharmacies to conduct tests will relieve some of the pressure on the province’s 147 testing centres. Many of those locations have experience long lineups and wait times.

The premier has also promised to "keep expanding to more pharmacies across the province in the coming weeks."


There are three options if you think you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Health officials say you should only go to pharmacies offering testing if you are not showing symptoms.

The following must also apply:

  • Someone you have come into contact with has had a positive test
  • You live or work in an at-risk setting (long-term care home, homeless shelter or congregate setting)
  • You plan on visiting a long-term care home
  • You are a worker or resident at a place where an outbreak has been declared (school, retirement or long-term care home)

Ontario’s public health website says all testing appointments must be booked in advance.

Those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, meanwhile, are asked to visit their local assessment centre.

You should also book an appointment at an assessment centre if you have symptoms, and the following also applies:

  • You received a COVID Alert notification that you may have been exposed to a confirmed case
  • You live or work in a location where public health has identified a COVID-19 outbreak
  • You live or work in an at-risk setting (long-term care home, homeless shelter or congregate setting)
  • You plan on visiting a long-term care home

Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to COVID-19 but does not fall into any of the categories listed above is advised to contact their health care provider.

An exemption will be made for anyone planning to travel internationally. The province’s public health website says those who aren’t experiencing symptoms have the option of booking an appointment at a pharmacy or assessment centre.


Health officials say anyone with the following symptoms should go directly to their local emergency department:

  • Severe difficulty breathing (struggling for breach, can only speak in single words)
  • Severe chest pain (constant tightness or crushing sensation)
  • Feeling confused and unsure where you are
  • Loss of consciousness

Children under the age of three should also be taken to the hospital if they have a fever, are having difficulty breathing or appear unwell.

Children over the age of three should be taken to the emergency department if they are experiencing any of the following:

  • Fever lasting longer than 7 days
  • Fever and a rash
  • Fever with a compromised or weakened immune system
  • Bluish skin colour
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Difficulty waking up or not interacting
  • Irritable and don’t want to be held
  • Constant vomiting


Visitors to pharmacies or assessment centres are required to bring their Ontario health card.

You should also wear a face mask or other face covering, and respect social distancing guidelines for those outside your social bubble.