UPDATED: How rapid testing at a long term care home caught COVID-19 cases days sooner

Maxville Manor rapid tests

It's being called a game-changer.

A pilot program using rapid COVID-19 tests at an Ottawa long term care home caught at least three cases, days before they would have been found through standard testing.

The test uses a nasal swab to detect COVID-19 in 15 minutes.

Since this is a pilot program, each rapid test is followed up by a standard PCR test. The CEO of Maxville Manor says the tests have been 99 percent accurate.

Last month, rapid tests revealed two cases in essential caregivers who were going into the home to see family members.

Both were being tested weekly through the standard tests. Their last tests had come back negative and they weren't due for another for days.

They were both asymptomatic.

CEO Amy Porteous told Moore in the Morning, there was also a case this week involving a staff member. She tested positive on the rapid test, which was then followed up by a standard test.

The result took two days to come in.

"If we didn't have the rapid test she would have been in the home for two days spreading COVID without anyone knowing," Porteous said.

Maxville Manor has not had a deadly outbreak of COVID-19 so far this winter. Porteous says they have had cases here and there.

"You compare that to other homes where a majority of the entire home is in outbreak and I attribute it to the fact that we have the rapid tests."

The Province says it plans to expand rapid testing.

Related story: NEWSTALK 1010 gets answers on the province's rapid testing rollout