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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
The result is negative when only line C appears in the window.
The result is invalid if line C is not visible in the window.
What to do, depending on the result
- If the result is positive, self-isolate and follow the Instructions for people with COVID-19 .
- If the result is negative, you can resume your usual activities while following the instructions indicated on the page Steps for limiting the spread of COVID-19 . You must do a second rapid test 24 to 36 hours later.
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.
Last update: September 21, 2022