COVID-19: Manitoba to provide take-home tests at its testing sites

Cars line up at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site on Regent Avenue Tuesday morning. Global News/Matt Purchase

Manitoba is set to begin providing take-home rapid tests at its testing sites. The type of test a person receives will be based on vaccination status.

Someone who is vaccinated but symptomatic will be sent home with a rapid test, but may randomly be selected for a PCR test. If the self-administered rapid test comes back positive, that person would be advised to return for a PCR test to confirm the positive result.

The province says people who are unvaccinated, symptomatic, and high-risk may receive a PCR test and a take-home rapid test, and be referred for monoclonal antibody treatment.

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“While not a substitute for vaccination, monoclonal antibody treatment can help reduce the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 in those that are high risk for severe illness,” the province said.

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“The treatment gives the body temporary antibodies to help the immune system fight the infection.”

These changes will take effect incrementally at test sites across the province. Four have made the switch.

They are:

  • drive-thru testing site, 1066 Nairn Ave., Winnipeg
  • drive-thru testing site at MPI, 125 King Edward St., Winnipeg
  • walk-in testing site, 1 Research Rd., Winnipeg
  • testing site, 100 Easton Dr., Winnipeg

“The centralized use of rapid test kits is necessary to manage the supply we have in stock,” Audrey Gordon, Manitoba’s health and seniors care minister, said in a press release.

“Making take-home, self-administered rapid tests available to symptomatic Manitobans who seek a COVID-19 test will help manage the potential demand of tests when the omicron variant of concern becomes more prominent.”

Additionally, the province says it’s making rapid tests available at 20 Manitoba Families social services offices across the province. More than 15,000 test kits — each containing three tests — will be distributed to clients later this week.

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A further 1,764 kits will be provided directly to Community Living Disability Services clients who live independently with supports. Child and family service staff will receive some 400 kits each month to use when visiting vulnerable clients.

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The minister notes Manitobans shouldn’t visit COVID-19 test sites for travel purposes, but instead find those tests from the private sector.

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