Abby Neufeld CTV News Toronto Multi-Platform Writer
All COVID-19 rapid tests designated to be handed out free of charge at LCBO retailers have been distributed, the Ontario government says.
On Wednesday, Ontario announced it would use select LCBO locations as COVID-19 rapid test distribution sites, in what the province dubbed a "holiday testing blitz." On Friday morning, 100 LCBO retailers across the province handed out the tests to residents, many of whom lined up outside, free of charge.
But by Friday evening, the LCBO announced that their supply had run out.
“Our supply of COVID-19 rapid test kits has run out,” the corporation said in a Tweet on Friday night. “Thanks for your patience and understanding.”
The Ontario government also confirmed through their website that the LCBO no longer has tests to distribute.
“Beginning Dec. 17, select LCBO stores offered free take-home rapid test kits while supplies lasted,” it said.
“All of these test kits have now been distributed. Many thanks to the LCBO for participating in Ontario’s pop-up COVID-19 testing holiday program.”
When reached for comment, the Ministry of Health said they “recognize there is significant demand for rapid tests and are pleased to see so many people embrace the opportunity to add an extra layer of protection in advance of the holidays.”
“That said, Ontario has a limited supply of rapid tests and every single test the province has received from the federal government is out the door to thousands of workplaces, hospitals, home and community care settings, long-term care homes, schools and child care centres on top of the many pop-up sites across the province,” Ministry spokesperson Alexandra Hilkene told CTV News Toronto on Saturday.
Hilkene claimed that the province recently learned “millions of tests expected to be received from the federal government have been delayed.”
“In light of this, Ontario is directly procuring additional rapid tests where possible, and we continue to urge the federal government to make more rapid tests available to provinces as quickly as possible,” she said.
Rapid antigen tests are still being handed out at community pop-ups and testing centres across the province. To see a full list of participating locations, click here.
These pop-ups are first-come, first-served and many have seen long lines of residents waiting to secure tests.
The Ontario government is underlining that rapid antigen tests are best used on asymptomatic individuals to detect whether they are positive for COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, it is recommended that you do not use a rapid antigen test, but rather take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which can be done at provincial testing locations.
Our supply of COVID-19 rapid test kits has run out. Thanks for your patience & understanding. We’ll post if we receive more. Visit https://t.co/fYKqUymQya for info on screening & take-home kits at pop-ups across the province.
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