New rapid COVID-19 testing has made its way to Ottawa

OTTAWA —
There are two types of rapid COVID-19 tests deployed across the capital, both are said to be able to provide results in under 20 minutes.

“The Ottawa Hospital and Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association have received 3,000 IDNOW and 10,000 PANBIO rapid tests for deployment in the Ottawa region,” said a spokesperson for the Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce.

The tests are still being validated. 

“They have to make sure all the pieces are there,” said Michelle Hoad, CEO of the Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario.

“Then they start making sure the actual tests – how it functions compared to a real PCR test – so they will grab a whole bunch of positive tests and negative tests and they’ll run them against that machine.”

A PCR test, or polymerase chain reaction test, is currently used to tell if someone has COVID-19.

Hoad says there are hurdles with rapid testing.

“You need a lot of the virus in your system, so what they call a high viral load.”

It may sound counterproductive, but tests that come back positive will still need to be sent to the lab for a closer look.

“There’s been a lot of I’ll use the word ‘uncomfortableness’ across the province with the reliability,” Hoad said.

The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce says once its gets through quality assurance, the tests can be rolled our more broadly.

This post first appeared on Here