The Rules On Using A Rapid Test Got Changed Up By Ontario's Science Table & Here's Why

Good luck to anyone with a gag reflex.

Toronto Associate Editor
The Rules On Using A Rapid Test Got Changed Up By Ontario's Science Table & Here's Why

If you've ever taken an at-home rapid antigen test before, then you're probably aware of how uncomfortable it is swabbing that long, skinny Q-tip up your nose. The whole rapid testing experience may get a whole lot worse depending on who you ask because, well, apparently the nostrils aren't enough.

Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table published a science brief on February 10 where it added more steps on how to properly use at-home rapid antigen tests.

In order to more reliably figure out if you're positive with COVID-19, the science table said you should swab the inside of both of your cheeks, then the back of your tongue or throat, then both of your nostrils.

Previously, Ontario Health instructed test-takers just to swab both nostrils.

According to the brief, rapid tests using only a nasal swab aren't as effective in detecting the Omicron variant compared to the Delta variant — especially within the first one to two days after infection.

A single negative rapid antigen test will also no longer be enough to rule out an infection. So, you may want to rethink using just one rapid test as a way to tell if you're good to go to your friend's party.

Anyone using asymptomatic rapid antigen testing strategies will need to test more regularly in order for it to be effective. For example, this means close contacts to someone who tested positive will need to take a test every day.

Free rapid antigen tests are now available at participating grocery stores and pharmacies across Ontario.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

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