Canada ‘grossly underutilizing’ rapid tests, experts warn — even as COVID-19 cases tick up – CBC

94 million rapid tests purchased by Ottawa, yet many Canadians face limited access

Dec 09, 2021

When Dr. David Juurlink joined some friends for dinner in the U.K. during a September vacation, he was surprised to learn they had a stockpile of rapid COVID-19 tests at their home. Hundreds, in fact — all provided for free by British public health officials.

Those friends gave Juurlink’s family a few tests to bring back to Toronto, while other friends overseas later sent him another 14 from their personal trove.

“We’ve kind of treated these things like gold,” he told CBC News. “Because it’s been so hard to get them otherwise.”

Across Canada, there’s patchwork access to rapid tests, even though the country has millions of the devices on hand. In certain provinces, affordability remains an issue.

While some jurisdictions are handing the tests out broadly, others are using them primarily for schools and businesses — all while the general public can’t easily add this extra piece of protection to their pandemic toolkit.

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