Our nostrils are tingling.
If, like most Quebecers, you've been struggling to get your hands on free COVID-19 rapid tests, you may want to try again next week. According to the professional association of pharmacist-pharmacy owners, drugstores across the province will be getting more in stock the week of January 10.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Association québécoise des pharmaciens propriétaires (AQPP) says it "has learned that new rapid self-tests for COVID-19 will soon be available to the Quebec population."
The new batch of rapid tests will likely be delivered to the majority of pharmacies by Tuesday, January 11, the AQPP says.
As such, pharmacy owners are asking citizens not to visit or call pharmacies about the tests before January 11.
"Unfortunately, we have no control over the arrival or delivery of the tests. Once they are in the hands of pharmacists, they are given to patients without delay," AQPP President Benoit Morin says in the release. "As soon as they are delivered, pharmacies will make them available to the public and inform them of the procedure to follow to obtain them."
The AQPP did not specify how many tests Quebec pharmacies would receive this time around but, at a press conference on Wednesday, the federal government stated that Canada would be doling out 140 million rapid tests to the provinces and territories this month, on a per capita basis.
The Quebec government says it has asked the feds for a total of 10 million rapid tests, which began with an initial rollout of more than 200,000 kits containing 5 tests each — for a total of 1 million total tests — on Monday, December 20.
When free rapid test kits first became available on December 20, several Quebec pharmacy websites crashed, and Jean Coutu's website showed hours-long wait times to access the reservation page. Quebecers also waited in long lineups IRL before stores quickly ran out of supplies.
As of the next morning, the Jean Coutu website said tests were "very limited," and all 27 Montreal Jean Coutu locations had no available appointments to book in order to get the free boxes of tests.
Tests remain limited to one kit of five tests per person aged 14 and older per 30-day period. The limit applies to all pharmacies, meaning you can't bounce from pharmacy to pharmacy to pick up more than one kit per month.
The AQPP recommends checking pharmacy signage in order to find out if kits are available or not. It recommends starting with your regular pharmacy. So if there's a pharmacy that already has a record in your name, go there first — as long as you don't have COVID-19 symptoms.
If you're not sure how to use the kit, the AQPP says there will be instructions on the box. The Quebec government's "rapid home testing" webpage also has a video explaining how to administer the test.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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