Rapid antigen tests (RATs) should not be relied on as a way to determine whether to attend social activities. Instead, individuals should follow existing public health measures, regardless of RAT use and self-isolate if experiencing symptoms.
People with symptoms
If you have symptoms and are not eligible for PCR or molecular point-of-care testing, use a rapid antigen test if you have access to one. If you have symptoms and test positive on a RAT, it is highly likely that you have COVID-19. A confirmatory PCR test is not required.
Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms who use RATs should be aware that they may produce false negative results (that is, testing negative but still being infected), particularly early in COVID-19 infection. If you repeat testing at least 24-48 hours after your first negative test and test negative again, you can be more confident in your negative status.
Symptomatic individuals who may be eligible for treatment (external link) and have an initial negative RAT result are strongly recommended to seek PCR or molecular point-of-care testing as soon as possible given the time frame for receiving therapeutics.
People without symptoms
Be aware that RATs have a low sensitivity for COVID-19 in people who do not have symptoms (“asymptomatic”). This means that a negative result could be a false negative in asymptomatic individuals.
Depending on supply, RATs are available free of charge through the following locations: