Difficult to find rapid tests intended for sale to tourists

Tourists visiting Quebec are finding it difficult to obtain rapid tests, which are not yet widely available for sale while the summer season is in full swing and a seventh wave is hitting the province.

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“Rapid tests are part of the arsenal we have to control the epidemic. The more tests that are available, the more we can reduce transmission. It’s a bit unfortunate that the tests aren’t more accessible [pour les touristes]“, regrets the epidemiologist Kévin L’Espérance.

As thousands of tourists flock to Quebec in the midst of the seventh wave to take advantage of the summer, those who want to get tested have two solutions: take a paid private screening test or buy boxes of rapid tests, she explains via E -Mail to Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman Marjorie Larouche.

But it’s not that easy to find those that aren’t the same as the ones the government gives to Quebecers.

By pretending to be a European tourist visiting the province of Belle, the representative of the protocol tries to get rapid drug tests from pharmacists.

Without RAMQ

Out of about fifteen companies in Gaspé, only one reported selling boxes priced at about $30 for two tests.

Some pharmacies that do not sell paid tests nevertheless agreed to give them to the representative of the protocol to control infections.

In Gaspé, Chicoutimi, Québec, Montreal and Sherbrooke, more than half of the professionals contacted simply asked for a passport to be presented.

In Montreal, a pharmacist who wishes to remain anonymous says she is having trouble obtaining these tests, which are specially made for sale.

“We had some in early January but it was a different context and it wasn’t selling much and since it’s expiring the wholesalers don’t have many left,” says the one who no longer sells it.

need a friend

Therefore, to help tourists identify themselves more easily, the latter suggests that they come with a friend from Quebec.

“We do everything we can to help people get tested,” says the pharmacist.

Because in order to be able to deliver boxes free of charge, pharmacists must ensure that the customer has either a RAMQ card (Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec) or a residential address in Quebec, recalls Benoit Morin, president of the Quebec Association of Owner Pharmacists .

“In the other waves [les contaminations] were really local. There we are really facing a new phenomenon where we have more tourists who will need it [de tests]’ explains Mr. Morin, who assures that he will encourage his members to get paid rapid tests.

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