Here's When You Should Actually Use Rapid Tests, According to Santé Québec

That is if you can get your hands on a rapid test!

Associate Editor
Here's When You Should Actually Use Rapid Tests, According to Santé Québec

Have you been having a hard time trying to procure a rapid test in Quebec? You're not alone! Luckily it seems as if there is a glimmer of hope as the distribution of rapid tests is set to pick up province-wide.

Now, as PCR tests are reserved for priority groups, at home rapid tests have become the norm and Santé Québec is clarifying exactly when to use the testing kit for a more accurate diagnosis.

"People can become contagious about 2 days before the appearance of symptoms, even for asymptomatic people," the Ministry of Health said in a January 12 tweet alongside a graph comparing the efficacy of rapid and PCR tests over time.

To avoid running the risk of a false negative, potentially wasting a test, Santé Québec says that "the rapid test should be done within days of contact with a positive case or at the onset of symptoms for the virus to be more likely detected."

The rapid tests, the graph shows, are effective for less than a week following the onset of symptoms — just a fraction of the 14-day window in which a PCR test can detect a COVID-19 infection.

PCR tests are effective almost as soon as an infected person becomes contagious, about four days after contact with a positive case, according to the ministry.

Though right now Quebec isn’t counting the number of positive at-home tests — leading to an undercount in official tallies — the government is creating a platform where the public can self-report their COVID-19 status.

That is if residents can find a rapid test at all. Pharmacies have been in short supply despite promises of widespread distribution.

However, recent announcements suggest the situation could be changing.

In a January 5 press release, the Association québécoise des pharmaciens propriétaires (AQPP) said that Quebec was set to receive another batch of testing kits beginning Tuesday, January 11, and continuing into the following week. The testing kits, which are available to those 14 years of age and over, include five tests and can be replenished per 30 day period.

On January 13, the Ministry of Health announced the province is set to receive another 70 million rapid tests over the course of the next few months, pending Health Canada's approval of a partnership with a private distributor.

1 In 4 Quebecers Are Okay With Throwing The Unvaccinated In Jail, A New Survey Suggests

More than half of Canadians wouldn't even care if they DIED because of COVID-19, the Maru Group survey found.

According to a new study conducted by Maru Public Opinion, 27% of Quebecers would approve of forcing the unvaccinated to "serve up to five days as part of a jail sentence for endangering others/overwhelming health care system," which is in line with the national average.

More than half of Quebecers (55%) surveyed wouldn't even feel bad for unvaccinated people who end up really sick — or dying — from COVID-19, also in line with the Canadian average. Currently, 12% of Quebecers surveyed admit to refusing the vaccine.

Keep Reading Show less

Dubé Questioned The Conscience Of Montreal Restaurant Owners Opening Against The Rules

The health minister invoked Quebec's overburdened hospitals and the ongoing efforts of healthcare workers.

Christian Dubé | Facebook

At a press conference on Tuesday, Health Minister Christian Dubé offered his thoughts on a growing movement of Montreal restaurant owners who say they will reopen on January 30 no matter what the health regulations are. The health minister said he sympathizes with their frustrations, but said they might "lack conscience."

"We need to be careful to not give more reasons to encourage these individuals to not respect the rules," said Dubé.

Keep Reading Show less

Quebec's Love Affair With Legault Is Outlasting COVID-19 Curfews, Taxes & More

But his approval rating has taken a big hit since May 2020.

A majority of Quebecers still approve of Premier François Legault, according to a recent Angus Reid Institute survey — despite the fact that the population has grown increasingly critical of his government's handling of the pandemic.

Legault's approval rating currently sits at 55%, the survey says. That's a big drop from his peak of 77% in May 2020 — and it's his lowest rating since his election in October 2018. But Legault's approval rating is nonetheless second-highest in Canada, behind only Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, who has 57% approval.

Keep Reading Show less

On Tuesday, Quebec reported more new 89 new COVID-19 deaths. The province also recorded a net increase of 36 COVID-19 hospital patients on January 17, bringing the total number of active hospitalizations to 3,417, of which 289 were in intensive care, a net increase of three.

The province also tallied 5,143 new infections. However, because PCR tests are no longer available to the general public, official case counts are unreliable.

Keep Reading Show less