Rapid tests are used to quickly identify infected people, which consequently helps reduce the risk of outbreaks. They are easy to use for everyone and results are available within minutes.

When to use a rapid test

People with symptoms that are similar to COVID-19 symptoms must use a rapid test as soon as possible.

People who have had COVID-19 in the last two months do not need to do a rapid test.

People wishing to end their self-isolation must use a rapid test.

Necessary materials

Everything you need for your test is included in the test kit, except for a timer or stopwatch. Be sure to have one close at hand before starting the test.

How to use the test

The how-to video Rapid testing This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only) explains the different steps to follow when doing a rapid test.

The Using rapid tests sheet This hyperlink will open in a new window. also provides the necessary explanations.

Precautions to take

  • Keep rapid antigen test kits and solutions out of the reach of children and pets;
  • Never swallow the solutions and avoid contact with eyes and skin. Contact the Poison Control Centre This hyperlink will open in a new window. in case of accidental ingestion or direct skin exposure to the solutions in the kits;
  • Wash hands thoroughly after use.

Interpreting the result

The result appears in two lines:

  • the Control line, next to the C;

  • the Test line, next to the T.

Only the result visible in the window 15 to 20 minutes after the start of the test is valid.

Positive

The result is positive when line C and line T appear in the window. The order in which the lines appear is not important and even if a line is pale, the result indicated is accurate.

Negative

The result is negative when only line C appears in the window.

Invalid

The result is invalid if line C is not visible in the window.

What to do, depending on the result

Rapid tests can give a false positive result for people who are not infected or a false negative result for people who are infected. This is one of the reasons why people are required to do a second test after getting a negative result.

Reporting rapid test results

It is important to report your rapid test result by completing the self-reporting form for each rapid test you do, whether the result is positive or negative.

Rapid test results are reported for statistical purposes only, to track the use of these tests. The results you report will not be recorded in your proof of vaccination.

Expiry dates for some kits

The shelf lives (expiry dates) of the Panbio™ and BD Veritor™ rapid antigen tests have been amended by Health Canada.

  • Panbio™ tests remain valid for 12 months after the expiry date;
  • BD Veritor™ expiring in 2021: these tests are valid for 10 months after the expiry date;
  • BD Veritor™ expiring in 2022: these tests are valid for 4 months after the expiry date.

Waste management

The waste generated by rapid tests is not considered biomedical waste. It can therefore all be thrown in the garbage. This includes personal protective equipment. The paper instruction sheet and the cardboard box can be put in the recycling bin.