COVID-19 tests will be available at Interior Health Community Collection Centres, beginning the week of Dec. 27.Rapid
“Where available, rapid tests may be provided to individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and according to risk factors,” Interior Health said in a press release. “No appointment is required to pick up a rapid test. Access may be temporarily limited depending on the supply available.”
Rapid tests can be administered at home and measure whether someone has COVID-19 and is likely to infect others. They return results in as little as 15 minutes.
If a rapid COVID-19 test indicates a positive result, people must continue to self-isolate and follow the guidance included in the test package, including how to self-report a positive result.
B.C. was expecting the federal government to deliver 200,000 of the Panbio brand of rapid tests by the end of the year. The province has also purchased 500,000 tests of the BTNX brand with nasal swabs, anticipated to arrive in late December.
As COVID-19 activity increases across B.C., however, guidance on when to get a COVID-19 test has been updated by Interior Health.
A COVID-19 test is not recommended for those who have no symptoms, even if those who are a close contact with someone who has tested positive. It’s also not recommended for those who are fully vaccinated and experiencing mild symptoms and can manage their illness at home.
If that’s the case, the health authority said people should self-isolate for seven days, and notify close contacts so they can self-monitor, too.
On the other hand, those who are experiencing fever or chills; cough; loss of sense of smell or taste; or difficulty breathing should go get tested.
Those who have experienced sore throat; loss of appetite; headache or body aches; extreme fatigue; nausea or vomiting; diarrhea for more than 24 hours should contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.
British Columbia’s seven-day rolling average for COVID-19 cases has more than doubled in the last week. The average number of cases per day is now 1,937 per day compared to 834 cases a day a week ago.
The weekend COVID-19 numbers include 713 new cases in Interior Health, 3,181 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 1,482 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health area, 174 new cases in Northern Health, and 737 new cases in Island Health.
Caroline Colijn, the Canada 150 research chair in mathematics for evolution, infection and public health, said the new case numbers don’t capture the province’s entire pandemic picture, however, because B.C. has hit its testing capacity limits and younger, symptomatic people have been told not to come in for PCR testing.
“We won’t be seeing the rise in cases numbers that we would have seen if we did not hit that testing capacity,” Colijn said.
“Unfortunately it is going to be a struggle to interpret the data in the coming days and possibly coming weeks.”
For a list of all Interior Health COVID-19 immunization clinics and other resources visit the Interior Health website.