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Quebec Is Limiting PCR Tests To Just A Few Groups Due To High Demand

Here's what you have to do if you can't get a PCR test.

Senior Editor
Quebec Is Limiting PCR Tests To Just A Few Groups Due To High Demand

The Ministry of Health and Social Services announced Tuesday that Quebec PCR tests will no longer be available to the general public at testing sites. Due to high demand and a surge in new COVID-19 cases, the province is limiting PCR tests to a few priority groups.

These are, according to a press release from the ministry:

  • Symptomatic hospital patients; emergency room patients; health care workers in contact with patients; staff, residents, essential care providers and visitors in hospitals and group living facilities; and "ambulatory patients for whom treatment against COVID-19 is being considered."
  • Symptomatic people who are unhoused "or in precarious residential situations."
  • People in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, as well as people "travelling to these communities for work."
  • "Persons on admission or transfer to or from a hospital or group home."
  • People who are contacts of a "high-risk setting" with a "confirmed or suspected" outbreak.
  • Other asymptomatic people in hospitals, long-term care facilities and group living environments, who must test in accordance with existing provincial guidelines.

People who are not in these groups who develop COVID-19 symptoms will have to rely on free rapid tests available at pharmacies, the ministry says.

If rapid tests aren't available, officials say symptomatic people who can't get a PCR test will be automatically "considered to have COVID-19" and will have to isolate.

Quebec's isolation guidelines changed on Tuesday, too. The province reduced the isolation period for fully vaccinated people to five days, down from the previous 10 days.

However, these people will have to wear a mask and practice 2-metre social distancing for another five days. If they can't do that, they'll need to isolate for the full 10 days.

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