The Ontario government says it has “not yet received” confirmation of a delivery schedule from the federal government on when the province can expect its share of the newly announced rapid COVID-19 tests.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, said the federal government will deliver 140 million rapid COVID-19 tests to the provinces and territories in January.
The tests will be allocated on a per capita basis, Duclos said.
“Deliveries are already well underway and we will keep you updated as often as possible,” he said.
In a statement emailed to Global News, Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for Ontario Premier Doug Ford‘s office said they “welcome today’s news from the federal government.”
“However, in order to finalize distribution plans we need confirmation of delivery schedule, which we have not yet received,” the statement reads.
Yelich said this is “particularly important in light of the fact that we have not received 12 of the 15.5 million we were told we would get in December.”
Global News reached out to Health Canada to determine how many of the newly announced tests would be allocated to Ontario, and when they would be delivered, but did not immediately hear back.
According to Duclos, 120 million rapid tests have been distributed across Canada to date. He told reporters 87 million were distributed before December 2021, with 35 million distributed last month.
Online learning, business closures, restrictions and surgery reductions begin again in Ontario
Yelich said the supply of rapid antigen tests the province expects to receive from the federal government in the coming weeks is “in addition to the millions of tests Ontario is procuring on its own.”
She said the Ontario provincial government’s “priority” is to “continue providing these tests to settings like hospitals, home and community care, long-term care and retirement homes, as well as child-care centres and schools so they can continue operating safely.”
The rapid tests, which provide results in as little as 15 minutes, have been in high-demand as cases surge across the country, and fears mount over the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Many in Ontario and across the country waited in long lineups in hopes of securing a few of the at-home tests ahead of the holidays.
The announcement from the federal government comes as more stringent restrictions came into effect in Ontario on Wednesday.
Gyms and other indoor venues have been forced to close again and indoor dining has been banned at restaurants.
Meanwhile, students in Ontario have transitioned back to online learning in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.
-With files from Global News’ Aaron D’Andrea
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