Stephen: Changes in PCR test eligibility
Published on March 17th, 2022 @ 4:35 PM
Public Health has revised eligibility criteria for PCR testing. Effective immediately symptomatic individuals who are at increased risk for severe disease, live or work in congregate settings, or are essential to keeping the health system running are eligible for a PCR test. This includes those who are:
- 60 years and over
- Children under the age of 2
- First Nations, Inuit or Métis (18 years and older)
- Frontline health care workers with direct patient care
- Working in a long term care home, personal care home, community care home, assisted living facility, or correctional facility
- Living in or working in a shelter, transition house, or temporary foreign worker setting
- Immunocompromised and potentially eligible for COVID-19 medications.
If you are not eligible for PCR testing and you develop symptoms, you can use rapid antigen tests if you have them. If you use rapid antigen tests it is important that you have two negative tests administered 72 hours apart before leaving isolation. One negative test is not adequate.
If you do not have rapid tests and you are not eligible for PCR testing, you will need to stay at home until your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours and you have no fever.
If you are unsure of your testing requirements, please complete the online Self-Assessment and Test Reporting Tool for direction.
There are no changes to testing for close contacts, as indicated in the Close Contacts Flowchart. The above-noted priority groups do not apply to close contacts.
Public Health has also revised direction for fully vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19. Effective immediately, fully vaccinated individuals who are released from isolation after 7 days are no longer required to limit activities to essential tasks only for three days. Once released from isolation, it is recommended these individuals avoid high-risk areas for an additional three days.