The COVID situation in Manitoba is largely under control, but that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. COVID still circulates, and we must be vigilant to prevent more infections. Alongside masking, physical distancing, and handwashing, rapid testing is another way we can slow COVID spread in the province.
Read on to learn the types of COVID-19 tests, why rapid testing is so commonplace, and where to get test kits in Manitoba!
Types of COVID Viral Tests
COVID viral tests detect virus material from a nasal swab sample to confirm infection. These tests are commonly seen in workplaces and events to prevent infected people from entering the premises.
Health Canada recognizes two types of COVID-19 viral tests:
Rapid Antigen Test
A rapid antigen test uses viral proteins for COVID-19 identification. An antigen test is relatively less accurate than a PCR test but produces results within 15 minutes.
Rapid antigen tests are often used to screen for COVID-19 in group settings because you can test many people in a short time. Additionally, antigen tests are perfect for self-testing because they’re easy to administer.
A molecular COVID-19 test method like PCR confirms infection by detecting the virus’s genetic material. A PCR test gives you more definitive results but usually takes longer because samples need to be examined at clinics or labs. You can get PCR test results in one to three days, but some assessment centres may offer one-hour tests.
Benefits of COVID-19 Rapid Tests
Here are four advantages offered by rapid antigen tests:
You can do rapid tests at home without visiting assessment clinics. Test kits often come bundled with instructions, and you can book telehealth appointments if you’re unable to complete them yourself.
Rapid test kits are freely available in pharmacies and public health care facilities across Manitoba. They’re also sold through many resellers like Rapid Test & Trace Canada.
Fast and Clear Results
Rapid tests only take 15 minutes to produce results, compared to PCR tests which can take up to three days. Rapid test results are also very easy to understand – two lines for a positive result and one for a negative result.
Supports On-Location Group Testing
The speed and ease of rapid tests make them perfect for testing a large group of people. You can test dozens of people in a short time and ensure everybody isn’t infected before entering.
Are COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests Approved in Manitoba?
Rapid tests are approved by the Manitoba Government, which provides free test kits at various locations across the province. Visit the Manitoba Government website to locate test kit pickup spots near you.
Note that you’re limited to one kit of five tests per household to support equal access to rapid testing.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Health Canada recommends getting a rapid test if you experience symptoms of COVID-19. Here are some common symptoms you should know:
Muscle and body aches
Flu-like symptoms (nose congestion, sneezing, loss of smell)
Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list of COVID-19 symptoms. If you experience severe symptoms, call emergency services or primary health care providers immediately.
People With Higher Risk of COVID
Everybody can get COVID, but some people, like seniors and health care workers, are more susceptible to the disease. Here are some people who must be extra watchful for COVID symptoms:
Workers at personal care homes
Workers at assessment clinics
What to Do if You Tested Positive for COVID-19
Even fully vaccinated people can still catch COVID-19, but it’s no reason to worry. If you tested positive for COVID, you should:
Self-isolate at home and minimize personal contact with other people in the household. Most people with COVID do not need to receive care in a hospital and can recover independently at home.
Determine your day of exposure by recounting high-risk public gatherings or possible contact with COVID-19 cases in the past two to three days.
Notify every person you’ve come into contact with from the date of exposure about your COVID diagnosis, and encourage them to get tested immediately.
Stay in isolation for the recommended period and only leave when you get a negative rapid test result two days in a row.
What if I Test Negative but Show Symptoms?
Per Health Canada advisory, you still need to isolate if you have symptoms but test negative. Continue to self-isolate until you’re asymptomatic for 24 hours.
If symptoms persist and you’re worried about getting a false negative on antigen tests, visit nearby health care services to get a PCR test.
Rapid Tests to Protect Businesses and Organizations
Asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission makes up nearly half of all infections, so testing and screening are essential public health measures to protect your workplace and the people in it. Regular rapid testing complements masking and handwashing to support COVID prevention in the province.
Where to Buy Rapid COVID Test in Manitoba
The general public has free access to antigen test kits at various stores, pharmacies, and libraries across the province. Use the tracker on the Manitoba Government site to search for nearby pickup spots. Call ahead before your visit to confirm rapid testing kit supplies.
If you need to buy test packages for your workplace, get them from a reseller site like Rapid Test & Trace Canada.
Buy Rapid Antigen Test Kits for Businesses and Organizations
Contact Rapid Test & Trace Canada today to get rapid test packages to protect your workplace from COVID-19, delivered right to your address.