The LCBO says that COVID-19 rapid test kits are starting to appear at select stores in the province on a first-come, first-served basis today — but the organization doesn’t know exact arrival times for specific stores, and expects “limited” supply to be scooped up fast.
The LCBO’s message comes as Ontarians jumped into long lines, hoping to snag rapid tests with the holiday season on the horizon and COVID-19 cases surging at a speed previously unseen during the pandemic, fuelled by the Omicron variant.
“We thank our customers for their patience and understanding,” the LCBO said in a statement.
“Our staff will be doing their best to share updates with anyone waiting and distribute kits on arrival. Store signage is being used at front doors to indicate if a store has kits, does not have kits, or expecting kits.”
Premier Doug Ford said on Wednesday the province is making millions of free rapid tests available at pop-up sites across the province and has asked the federal government for more.
“Fifty million rapid tests are allocated and flowing,” said Ford. “Every single test we have is on its way out the door.”
By 11:15 a.m., the LCBO had tweeted that several stores in the GTA were already out of stock.
Ottawa Public Health said on Twitter Friday that no tests are available at LCBOs in that city at all today due to delays. “The province of Ontario is leading this initiative and we are asking them to resolve issues as soon as possible,” the tweet said.
Ontario reported 3,124 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the most in more than seven months and a 115 per cent increase over the same time last week.
The seven-day average of daily cases has climbed to 1,914, which is a 72 per cent jump over last Friday. The metric is on pace to double every 10 days or so.
The updated figures come after Ontario’s COVID science table said Thursday that the highly-infectious Omicron variant threatens to overwhelm hospitals in the coming weeks.