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K-W's first independent pharmacy offers COVID-19 testing

The Lancaster Wellness Pharmacy in Kitchener is the first independent pharmacy in Waterloo Region to start testing for COVID-19
COVID testing
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It's the first pharmacy in the region not named 'Shoppers' to test for COVID-19.

The Lancaster Wellness Pharmacy at 493 Lancaster St. West is now offering the same type of testing as many other pharmacies across the province.

"It's definitely exciting," said Vishal Acharya, Lancaster Wellness Pharmacy owner and pharmacist. "It's nice to have smaller independent pharmacies to have an impact and help with the outbreak and be part of a solution."

The rules for getting a test are the same as for other pharmacies, meaning you do still need to be asymptomatic and meet very specific criteria. You also need to call ahead and be screened over the phone before booking an appointment.

"Initially the phones were ringing off the hook," said Acharya. "I asked some other colleagues who have been through this already and I actually added an extra phone line and hired extra staff."

Acharya said his pharmacy is currently offering bookings 15 minutes apart for about six hours a day. He's also taken steps to help make other customers feel more comfortable.

"We actually have two entrances to our pharmacy," said Acharya. "So we did allow one entrance just for our asymptomatic COVID patients."

"It's actually right by the entrance is where we do the testing," Acharya added. "So it's very quick and easy and we actually have staff and a pharmacist allocated just to be doing COVID testing."

He said there have been no big issues so far.

"If anything my patients are completely understanding and they completely understand what we're doing for the community."

"I'm really grateful as the first independent pharmacy in Waterloo Region to be able to do the COVID-19 testing," added Acharya. "I really feel like it can show what an independent pharmacy can do to support our community."


Casey Taylor

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