Screening is available to anyone who meets the asymptomatic criteria. In order to be screened in the pharmacy you must:
- Be asymptomatic (you have no symptoms of COVID-19)
- Have not been in contact with someone known to have COVID-19 within the past 14 days
- Have not been advised to quarantine in the last 14 days per the federal quarantine requirements
- Have not been advised to get tested for COVID-19 through an exposure notification through the COVID-19 app
- Have not previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days
Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing is also available at select pharmacies across Ontario Shoppers Drug Mart locations through the provincial public program at no cost for individuals who meet the criteria set by the Province of Ontario. For more information on this program, click here
IMPORTANT: If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever, new onset of cough, worsening chronic cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, decrease or loss of sense of taste or smell, chills, headaches, unexplained fatigue/malaise/muscle aches (myalgias), nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pink eye (conjunctivitis), runny nose or nasal congestion without other known cause please contact an assessment centre for testing and/or seek medical attention.
A rapid COVID-19 antigen screen is NOT used to diagnose COVID-19, so it’s different from a COVID-19 test. Here are a few key differences:
- Screening can identify antigens: A rapid COVID-19 antigen screen may identify the presence of antigens in your body. Antigens are specific proteins on a virus’s surface. This may indicate that you have an active COVID-19 infection. A follow-up COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is needed to confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis.
- Screening is faster: Results from antigen screens are ready in 15-20 minutes, and don’t need to be sent to a lab. Screening can be done in pharmacies. This is much faster than a COVID-19 test, but it may be less sensitive.
- A preliminary positive screen needs a follow-up test: If you get a preliminary positive result from the rapid COVID-19 antigen screening, it does not confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19. To confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19, you must contact Public Health and attend a COVID-19 Assessment Centre to follow up with a COVID-19 test – called a Polymerase Chain Reaction (or PCR) test – to confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19. This test is sent to a lab, and results are available within a few days.
For certain destinations, a Rapid Antigen Screening Test is accepted to provide as your negative viral test for travel purposes. Requirements for travel are changing frequently and each destination is different. It is the responsibility of the passenger to check the entry requirements of their destination.
Rapid screening can help to identify possible COVID-19 infections and may limit the risk of unknown spread; it does not provide a diagnosis of COVID-19. Rapid COVID-19 antigen screening is an additional step, beyond existing health and safety measures. It must be used along with Public Health guidelines, including social distancing, hand washing, enhanced cleaning, and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks. Rapid COVID-19 antigen screening is NOT the same as a COVID-19 test, and it does NOT prevent someone from getting COVID-19. If a screen comes back preliminary positive, a follow-up PCR test at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre is required to confirm a diagnosis.
Yes, individuals who have already received the COVID-19 vaccine are still eligible for rapid antigen screening.
No, Rapid Antigen Screening is not an acceptable proof of a COVID-19 negative test to re-enter Canada. As per current Federal Regulations, All travelers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must provide proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result to enter Canada. Molecular tests include PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), Nucleic acid test (NAT), or Nucleic acid amplification test (NAATs). More information can be found on the Government of Canada Website.
For short trips to the United States that are less than 72 hours, Canadian citizens, people registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents and protected persons travelling to the United States are allowed to do their pre-entry molecular test before they leave Canada.
- If your test is more than 72 hours old when you re-enter Canada, you’ll be required to get a new pre-entry molecular test in the United States
- Before leaving Canada, verify that you meet the entry requirements for your destination country. Select Shoppers Drug Mart Locations in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan currently offer COVID-19 PCR Testing acceptable for use when returning to Canada. The PCR test would need to be conducted within 72 hours of your planned re-entry into Canada. Please visit International Outbound COVID-19 PCR Testing page to learn more.
No, Shoppers Drug Mart does not currently sell at-home Rapid Antigen Screening kits for personal testing purposes. However through a collaboration with the Government of Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart is offering access to free rapid antigen screening kits for Canadian organizations to use for workplace screening of their employees. Visit https://federalrapidscreening.morewaystobenefit.ca/ to learn more.