Edmonton woman cautions international travellers after receiving incorrect COVID-19 test

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WATCH: Why isn't Canada using more rapid COVID-19 tests? – Jan 26, 2021

An Edmonton woman’s return trip to Alberta went awry when she realized she got the wrong COVID-19 test.

Nikki Mathis travelled to Dallas, Texas on Monday on a business trip. On her return flight, she flew to Calgary and planned to drive to Edmonton to quarantine.

She tells Global News she got a COVID-19 test at a U.S. health clinic, where the doctor offered her two test options.

“He said, ‘Do you need this test or that test?’ I didn’t know there was more than one at that time,” Mathis said.

“I said, ‘I need to have a test that shows I’m negative for COVID and can get on an airplane.'”

Mathis boarded her flight from Dallas to Calgary without issue, but when she landed in Alberta it was determined by Public Health Agency of Canada and Canada Border Services Agency that she had received an antigen test, not the required molecular COVID-19 test.

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The Government of Canada’s website states that COVID-19 tests must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular test. It states that other types of tests, including antigen tests, will not be accepted.

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Mathis’s husband, Chris, posted the results to Facebook, which state she received a negative result on a “rapid antigen nasal swab test.”

Nikki Mathis with her husband, Chris in an undated photo. Courtesy: Chris Mathis

“I was told, ‘We’re going to have to take you to a location to isolate in Calgary,'” Mathis said.

She is now awaiting a molecular COVID-19 test in a Calgary hotel, where she’s been since Thursday evening.

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“I have to wait for that result to come in and then it will be determined if my quarantine plan is solid enough to let me return home.”

She said she hopes her situation acts as a cautionary tale for anyone travelling.

“Now that I know there are two different tests… just make sure [the test you’re getting] is on the molecular level.”

In a statement, Alberta Health Services said: “AHS has no involvement in travel restrictions or enforcement measures related to mandatory quarantine.

“Requirements, including isolation orders and public health orders for travellers entering Canada through Alberta, are set out by the federal government and enforced by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Public Health Agency of Canada.”


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