There's A New Way To Do Quebec COVID-19 Rapid Tests

You'd still have to put it in your nose too.

Senior Editor
Two COVID-19 rapid antigen tests.

Two COVID-19 rapid antigen tests.

The government is updating its Quebec COVID-19 rapid test guide to encourage residents to insert the test swabs in their mouths, as well as their noses to increase the chances of an accurate test result.

As of Friday, the French-language rapid test user guide already includes the optional extra step. It asks test-takers to rub the swab against the inside of each cheek for five seconds before inserting it in each nostril.

You do not want to get the order of those steps mixed up.

Quebec Ministry of Health microbiologist and clinical expert Dr. Jean Longtin said at a press conference that the new method involving the mouth isn't a requirement, but could mean the test is more likely to pick up an Omicron infection.

"Omicron is a virus that preferentially affects the upper respiratory tract," he said. Therefore, he continued, including a saliva sample "increases the sensitivity of the test a bit."

Users who aren't comfortable doing mouth stuff with their test swab can continue to only probe their nostrils, Longtin assured.

The rapid test guideline update comes as the province contends with the sixth wave of infections spurred by the BA.2 subvariant.

Interim National Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau said Friday that his office does not plan to recommend new restrictive measures to curb the spread of the virus beyond the extension of the mask mandate.

While officials had planned to end face-covering requirements in most public spaces in mid-April, Boileau pushed that deadline to the end of the month.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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