Rapid tests will be sent to remote communities first, Ontario health officials say

Covid-19 test coronavirus

Ontario will use its first batch of COVID-19 rapid tests in remote communities and in outbreak situations to help reduce the turnaround time in getting results.

Provincial health officials say Ontario is set to receive and roll out roughly 100,000 rapid tests next month, with more to be delivered in the future.

Those tests will be polymerase chain reaction tests, or PCR, which search for the presence of the virus's genetic material.

The province also expects to receive antigen-based rapid tests next month - which look for specific markers on the outside of a virus - but officials say it's not yet known how many.

Dr. Vanessa Allen, the chief of medical microbiology at the Public Health Ontario laboratory, says everyone who undergoes a rapid test in the first few weeks will also take a regular, lab-based test to ensure better accuracy.

She says the rapid tests are known to be less sensitive and the duplication is meant to avoid missing any new cases.