EOHU’s guidance on the use of rapid tests

Nick Laurin
EOHU’s guidance on the use of rapid tests
Photo from Wikimedia Commons of a COVID-19 rapid antigen test.

CORNWALL, ON – As of Wednesday, Feb 9, Ontario has announced its plan to distribute five million free COVID-19 rapid test kits each week for eight weeks.

Following the distribution of rapid test kits, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is providing a Guidance on the Use of Rapid Antigen Tests.

According to the EOHU, rapid antigen tests are recommended for people with symptoms. If you are symptomatic:

  • A  positive rapid antigen test is highly indicative that you have COVID-19, and you and your household are required to self-isolate, in accordance with guidance. A confirmatory PCR test or any follow-up testing is not necessary after a positive rapid antigen test. The individual should also reach non-household contacts by providing them with the link to Ontario.ca/exposed.
  • A negative rapid antigen test does not rule out COVID-19. Repeat the test 24-48 hours later. If two consecutive rapid antigen tests, separated by 24-48 hours, are both negative, it is less likely that you are infected with COVID-19, and you are advised to self-isolate until symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms).

It’s important to not use rapid antigen tests for one-off testing (e.g., before a social event) by people who are asymptomatic, and without known exposure to someone with COVID-19, as a negative result could be a false negative.

The following locations in Cornwall will be distributing tests kits:

Baxtrom’s Your Independent Grocer Drug Store, 31 Ninth St. E.

Food Basics, 1315 Second St. E.

Food Basics, 960 Brookdale Ave.

Medical Arts Pharmacy, 30 Thirteenth St. E.

Medical Arts Pharmacy — Rx, 173 Montreal Rd.

Rx Drug Mart-Fullerton Drug Rx, 114-820 Mcconnell Ave.

Rx Drug Mart-Fullerton Drug Rx, 170 Pitt St.

Shoppers Drug Mart, 1380 Second St. E.

Shoppers Drug Mart, 1236 Brookdale Ave,

Shoppers Drug Mart, 1 Water St. E.

Sydney’s Drug Mart, 8-841 Sydney St.

Walmart, 420 Ninth St. W.

Furthermore, rapid antigen tests are less sensitive for Omicron, compared to Delta in nasal samples, especially in the first 1-2 days after infection. Regardless, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table recommends that rapid antigen tests can be more reliable in detecting infectious cases of Omicron in combined oral-nasal samples.

For more information about what to do If You Have Symptoms or Have Been Exposed, check out the EOHU’s website at www.EOHU.ca/coronavirus.

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