Rapid antigen tests not to be used for COVID-19 diagnostic tool: Grey Bruce Public Health

Covid-19 Rapid Test Device kits at Humber River Hospital in Toronto on Tuesday November 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Grey Bruce Public Health is asking people not to use rapid antigen testing to check for COVID-19 if they are experiencing symptoms.

In a release, the health unit says it has been brought to staff’s attention that people with symptoms have been using the tests to check for a diagnosis rather than booking an appointment at the local assessment centre and isolating until results are back.

“Providing access to rapid antigen testing is a helpful tool in responding to the emergency. It is however, a screening test that needs to be used under specific circumstances,” outlined the release.

It goes on to say that rapid antigen tests must not be used as a diagnostic tool for testing people with symptoms because it has a high failure rate and the tests are not considered reliable in confirming a positive or negative result in people with symptoms.

These test will not be accepted by public health as a clearance test to return to school, work, or to confirm and/or refute a diagnosis of COVID-19.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or you have been identified by public health as a high-risk contact of a known COVID-19 case, or you have been instructed to test by public health for any other reason, Grey Bruce Public Health recommends isolating and immediately booking an appointment with the assessment centre closest to you.