All Manitobans can now pick up rapid COVID-19 tests at provincial sites
Shift in access comes after province got more supply over last few weeks, Dr. Brent Roussin says
Manitobans will now be able to pick up rapid antigen COVID-19 tests at the province's testing sites, whether they have symptoms or not.
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said that change comes after the province got more supply of the tests over the last few weeks.
Previously, only people with COVID-19 symptoms or those who were advised to get tested by public health officials were able to access the tests.
"This wasn't really possible before due to supply, but now as we've received more supply we are going to make more tests available to Manitobans," Roussin said Wednesday at the province's weekly virtual news conference with public health officials.
"We know that many Manitobans have asked in the past if they could have a few tests at home before they're sick so that they can use [them] if they do develop symptoms."
Roussin said the update doesn't mean people need to scramble to get rapid tests if they want them.
"The supply is better now, so people don't need to rush out to pick these up today or tomorrow," he said.
"It's something you can add to your agenda next time you're running errands or near one of the testing locations."
People will be allowed to get up to two test kits per visit, the province said in a news release.
While their test results don't need to be reported, people will still have to self-isolate and follow other public health orders if they test positive on a rapid test, it said.
Details about how to use a rapid antigen test and where Manitoba's provincial testing locations are located are available on the government's website.
Manitoba is also distributing some of those rapid tests to community partners to focus on reducing potential barriers to getting them, Roussin said.
United Way Winnipeg has gotten more than 16,000 of the tests to distribute to social services organizations and places working with seniors and newcomers in the coming days, he said.