Rapid COVID-19 tests will be available at Interior Health Community Collection Centers beginning the week of December 27.
“When available, rapid tests may be provided to people with symptoms of COVID-19 and based on risk factors,” Interior Health said in a press release. “No appointment is required to take a rapid test. Access may be temporarily limited depending on the available offer.
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 should continue to self-isolate and follow guidance included in the test kit, including how to report a positive result.
British Columbia expected the federal government to deliver 200,000 Panbio-branded rapid tests by the end of the year. The province has also purchased 500,000 BTNX brand tests with nasal swabs, which are expected to arrive in late December.
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However, as COVID-19 activity increases across British Columbia, Interior Health has updated guidance on when to take a COVID-19 test.
A COVID-19 test is not recommended for those without symptoms, even if they are in close contact with someone who tests positive. It is also not recommended for people who are fully vaccinated and have mild symptoms and who can manage their disease at home.
If so, the health authority said people should self-isolate for seven days and notify close contacts so they can self-monitor as well.
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On the other hand, those who have a fever or chills; cough; loss of smell or taste; or difficulty breathing should go get tested.
Those who have suffered from sore throat; loss of appetite; headaches or body aches; extreme tiredness; nausea or vomiting; If you have diarrhea for more than 24 hours, contact your healthcare provider or call 8-1-1.
British Columbia’s seven-day rolling average for COVID-19 cases has more than doubled over the past week. The average number of cases per day is now 1,937 per day compared to 834 cases per day a week ago.
The weekend’s COVID-19 numbers include 713 new cases in Interior Health, 3,181 new cases in Fraser Health Region, 1,482 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health Region, 174 new cases in Northern Health and 737 new cases in Island Health.
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Caroline Colijn, Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematics for Evolution, Infection and Public Health, said the new case numbers do not reflect the province’s full pandemic picture, however, because British Columbia has reached its testing capacity limits and younger, symptomatic people have been told not to come for the PCR test.
“We won’t see the increase in cases that we would have seen if we hadn’t reached that testing capacity,” Colijn said.
“Unfortunately, it’s going to be difficult to interpret the data in the days to come and possibly in the weeks to come.”
For a list of all Interior Health COVID-19 vaccination clinics and other resources, visit the Interior Health website.
— with files by Richard Zussman
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