Coronavirus: Access to rapid antigen tests across Canada
The rise of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has some Canadians looking for ways to make sure their families don’t catch the virus.
The Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) delivers on-site COVID-19 test results in less than 20 minutes and has become a hot topic. They can also self-manage at home.
While they are freely available in some places, not every province or territory in Canada makes them widely available. Some Canadians are being asked to pay up to $40 to get tested at a pharmacy.
Advocates say prices and limited access to RATs are creating inequality among Canadians.
ACCESS TO ANTIGEN RAPID TEST IN ACROSS CANADA PROVINCE
Please note that the RAT is intended for people without any symptoms of COVID-19 and is not considered a definitive test by some Canadian health authorities. If you develop any symptoms or test positive with a rapid test, you should immediately self-isolate and schedule a PCR test to confirm infection.
Currently, the provincial health system does not provide free testing for people who need testing to work or travel. However, some private clinics may offer the test for a fee. Long-term care facilities can get the tests. Businesses that want to set up screening programs in the workplace can sign up to participate in the screenings. The Canadian Red Cross is also providing free rapid antigen tests to eligible BC nonprofits, charities and indigenous communities.
Starting December 17, Albertans can receive a free set of RATs for home use on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies run out at select pharmacies and clinics each week. 14 days. Employers can also apply to conduct a pilot program at their institution. There is also a voluntary program that provides testing kits to students in grades K-6 and staff at participating schools.
The province has made rapid at-home self-test kits available to the public.
On December 14, the province said it was considering making the rapid antigen tests widely available to the public, possibly free of charge, but currently they are only available through businesses that have adopted the test. staff and some pharmacies charge a fee.
On December 15, the province announced free and rapid antigen testing kits to take home available at pop-up locations across Ontario, effective immediately, through mid-January. Take-home kits are also being offered at select LCBO locations while supplies run out. Students at the school were also given test kits to take home before winter break.
Free rapid antigen test kits are available to the public. They will “soon” be accessible at most pharmacies. Preschool and elementary students were also given self-test kits to take home in December.
The province offers free testing and kits to the public at certain locations and pop-up events. Businesses can sign up for access to tests for workplace programs. The Canadian Red Cross also offers free rapid antigen tests to eligible New Brunswick nonprofits, charities and indigenous communities.
Residents can take the test for free at pop-ups across the province and can also get quick tests at home from public libraries.
PRINCE ISLAND EDWARD
Self-test kits have been made available to children by PEI under certain conditions.
CTVNews.ca has reached out to Newfoundland and Labrador and the three Canadian territories for the most up-to-date information on rapid antigen testing and will update this story as it becomes available.
With files from Christy Somos, Mason DePatie, Abbey Neufeld and Kim Phillips of CTV News, and The Canadian Press