Should I get a rapid test before a holiday gathering? We answer this and your other COVID-19 questions – CBC

Where can I get a rapid test? How accurate are they? How often should I take one?

Dec 15, 2021

With the highly transmissible omicron variant becoming the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Canada, and more people planning to gather for the holidays, health experts are calling for expanded rapid antigen testing to mitigate outbreaks.

“We should flood Canada with rapid tests,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto’s University Health Network.

“There should be no rapid test sitting on a shelf, collecting dust in a warehouse. They should be in the hands of Canadians.”

Many people asked CBC News about rapid tests and their effectiveness amid concern about getting together with family and friends over the holidays, given the rise of the new variant of concern and spiking case numbers.

Here’s what doctors and infectious diseases specialists say you need to know about these tests:

What is a rapid antigen test?
Rapid antigen tests use nasal swabs to detect viral proteins in a biological sample and can deliver results in less than 20 minutes.

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