Novel Coronavirus COVID-19
 


Rapid Testing


Rapid testing is another tool in Manitoba's testing arsenal to slow the spread of COVID-19 through fast identification. Rapid tests help support COVID-19 testing in Manitoba, but do not replace traditional COVID-19 testing in all circumstances.



Rapid Test Asymptomatic Screening Strategy

The rapid testing screening program supports businesses and critical service providers by helping to limit the spread of COVID-19 through early detection. The expanded strategy focuses primarily on providing antigen-based rapid tests to targeted industries and critical service providers in non-health-care settings. It also focuses on organizations that can self-administer a sustainable asymptomatic screening program and whose specific setting may benefit from routine testing because of their geographical location, potential supply chain, community or population impacts, transportation or living arrangements, or who have a workforce that have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. Partner organizations will be responsible for administering the tests and tracking, and reporting test results to the province.

The province has distributed a three-month supply of rapid tests to participating organizations and is providing training and other resources to support launch of the program.

COVID-19 Asymptomatic Rapid Testing for Eligible Workforces (pdf)


The two antigen-based rapid tests being used for this program are:

  • Abbott PanBio COVID-19 antigen test - provides COVID-19 results within about 20 minutes. The test can be administered by either a nasal swab or the deeper nasopharyngeal swab.
  • BD Veritor COVID-19 antigen test - provides COVID-19 results within about 20 minutes. The test is administered using a mid-turbinate swab, which does not go as deep into the nasal cavity as the nasopharyngeal swab.

Red River College is supporting the rapid test asymptomatic screening strategy by offering partner organizations a two-hour virtual training session on anterior nasal swabbing and conducting the rapid test. The course, which was designed in partnership with the province, provides non-health-care providers with the knowledge, practice and tools needed to safely conduct an anterior nasal swab and use an antigen rapid test device.


The province cannot mandate rapid tests being taken by employees; however, each organization may have their own policies in place.


Each workplace will communicate how employees should get tested and the result.  Individuals with a negative result can continue with their day as normal.


If an employee receives a positive test result, they will need to isolate from others and go to a provincial test site to receive a confirmatory test. They must follow all required workplace protocols and follow the advice of public health.  Employees may return to work only if they receive a negative result after their confirmatory test or if the appropriate self-isolation period has passed.


If an asymptomatic employee is tested for screening purposes and receives a positive test result, they will need to isolate from others and go to a provincial test site to receive a confirmatory test. If they receive a negative test, they can go about their workday.

If employees are symptomatic or have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, they should seek a diagnostic test at a COVID-19 testing location: https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/testing/locations.html.


If an employee has already the vaccine, they should still get a rapid test because they can still spread COVID-19 to others.




Fast Pass Pilot Program


Fast Pass sites offer a dedicated testing stream to teachers, educational support staff and other staff working in schools and directly with students. Fast Pass sites are also open to individuals working in licensed child care centres, nursery schools and family/group child care homes throughout Manitoba. In most cases, Fast Pass clients will be able to their access a positive test result on the same day of receiving a test. Eligible individuals can be tested if they are symptomatic, have been identified as a close contact as a result of an exposure at a school/child care setting, or who have a symptomatic household member.



Fast Pass sites offer a dedicated testing stream to teachers, educational support staff and other staff working in schools and directly with students. Fast Pass sites are also open to individuals working in licensed child care centres, nursery schools and family/group child care homes, including eligible early child development specialists or autism applied behaviour analysts/consultants throughout Manitoba.

In most cases eligible Fast Pass clients will be able to access their  test result on the same day of receiving a test.


Manitoba has two Fast Pass locations open for eligible individuals. Fast Pass clients are reminded to bring their identification and proof of employer when attending a Fast Pass site.

Fast Pass- Winnipeg

1066 Nairn Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba
Hours of Operation:

  • 7:00am to 3:00pm Daily
Appointments MUST be made ahead of time by calling 1-855-268-4318.
Clients will be required to show identification and proof of employer

Fast Pass- Winkler

485 George Ave. Winkler, Manitoba
Hours of Operation:

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 9:30am to 1:30pm
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Drive-through site. No appointment necessary.
Please self-identify as a Fast Pass Client and present required proof of employer.


Fast Pass site appointments are available to:

  • Staff working in Manitoba schools, including teachers, educational support staff and other staff working in schools and directly with students, including bus drivers, custodians and child care staff working in school-based early learning and child care facilities.
  • Staff working in licensed centre-based child care facilities and child care providers or individuals working in licensed home-based facilities, including eligible early child development specialists or autism applied behaviour analysts/consultants.  .

Clients will be required to show identification and proof of employer at the time of their appointment.


Fast Pass sites operate using the Songbird Hyris bCUBE lab-based rapid test.  The device requires a stable environment and is not mobile.  Similar to other types of COVID-19 tests, clients will receive a deep nasal swab from a health care professional.  The specimen collected will then be run on the Songbird Hyris bCUBE testing platform and will take several hours to produce a result.


In most instances results will be available for clients on the Shared Health portal within about eight hours.


Individuals must present an identification card that includes their name and the name of their division, school or child care centre. Alternatively, individuals may present a letter with the individual's name on letterhead of the division, school, or child care centre. The letter can be presented hardcopy or electronically on a mobile device on site. Individuals will also be required to present government-issued photo ID and their Manitoba Health Card.

At this time the focus of Fast Pass sites is the school-based workforce and the licensed early learning and child care workforce.


No. At this time the focus of Fast Pass sites is the school-based workforce and the licensed early learning and child care workforce.


The Fast Pass pilot program uses the Songbird Hyris bCUBE lab-based rapid test. Fast Pass focuses on providing school and child-care staff a faster route to a result. This supports timely diagnosis and earlier contact tracing and notifications in our school community. It also provides Manitoba's school-based workforce and the licensed early learning and child care workforce with a dedicated testing stream in the event that the regular system becomes taxed.

The personal care home pilot program provides regular screening of staff working in pre-selected personal care homes. This supports surveillance and earlier awareness of COVID-19 outbreaks. Regular screening of staff helps to protect residents by allowing for rapid containment of outbreaks that can have severe outcomes in these settings. The pilot uses the Abbott PanBio rapid test to support these screening activities.


Symptomatic household members are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 at a regular test site. If a household member tests positive for COVID-19 you may still be deemed a close contact and be required to isolate and monitor for symptoms, even with a negative test result. Public health will provide guidance and advice based on your circumstance.


Yes, those eligible for the Fast Pass pilot program can also access another testing site. Fast Pass is another additional testing option for school staff.


Fast Pass clients who attend the site for diagnostic purposes because they are symptomatic will be required to isolate until a negative result is received. Fast Pass clients who are close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 must also isolate and follow public health advice, regardless of the outcome of their test result.

Fast Pass clients who attend for asymptomatic screening purposes and are not considered a close contact of a confirmed case, may continue with their usual day, unless they receive a positive result. Those who receive a positive result must isolate and follow public health advice.

For more information on isolation visit: https://manitoba.ca/asset_library/en/covid/factsheet-isolation-selfmonitoring-recoveringhome.pdf


Rapid Testing with Abbott ID NOW


The Abbott ID NOW rapid test can provide COVID-19 results within minutes. The test is taken with a nasal swab and must be done by a trained health care provider.

It is important to know that rapid tests have limitations and can only be used in certain circumstances. They will help support COVID-19 testing in Manitoba, but will not replace how tests are done in most situations and for most people.


Manitoba has focused on placing Abbott ID NOW devices in remote communities, health care settings and some targeted COVID-19 testing sites where they can provide the greatest benefit to our public health response. This includes settings that may be experiencing transportation delays or outbreaks and populations that may be considered vulnerable or hard to reach. These communities and settings must be able to accommodate lab infrastructure that is needed for these rapid tests.


If an Abbott ID NOW rapid test unit is located in your community, your health care provider will decide if you should have a rapid test based on provincial guidelines. The test can only be given to people who have COVID-19 symptoms, and must be taken within seven days of symptom onset. Because it is less accurate, rapid test results must be verified by a conventional COVID-19 test.


A conventional COVID-19 test detects the genes of the virus from a deep nasal swab and is designed to be able to detect large or small amounts of virus. Rapid tests are designed to detect COVID-19 only when large amounts of virus are present, meaning they are faster but will provide less accurate results.


At this time, rapid tests will not replace the conventional COVID-19 test. It is much faster, but has other limitations. It is more likely to give false negative results, so everyone who takes this rapid test still has to have a second, conventional test to confirm their diagnosis.  With a limited number of units available, rapid testing units must be placed strategically to support the province’s overall public health response. Rapid tests are most accurate when used in a community or setting where viral activity is high.


These rapid test units are only located in selected communities and settings. The province sets guidelines for their use. Your health care provider will decide if this rapid test is appropriate for you. Considerations include your location, test availability and whether and how long you have had symptoms.


No. Because these rapid tests are more likely to give a false negative result, it must be verified by a second, conventional COVID-19 test. Your health care provider will provide you with more information about the process and when you can stop isolating.


Rapid tests are another tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19. They are being used in a limited capacity in locations where the value of immediate results outweigh the inconvenience of having to conduct two tests.


The rapid test units had to be approved for use in Canada on an emergency basis by the federal government. The Government of Canada also placed the first order of these units for the entire country, and then allocated units to each province and territory.

We continue to work with health care providers and key partners to deploy these test units into the community as soon as possible after they are delivered.





Asymptomatic Testing in Personal Care Homes


The rapid test units being used for this pilot (called Abbott Panbio COVID-19 antigen test) can provide COVID-19 results in about 20 minutes. The test is taken with a deep nasal swab and must be done by a trained health care provider.

It is important to know that rapid tests have limitations and can only be used in certain circumstances. They will help support COVID-19 testing in Manitoba, but will not replace how tests are done in most situations and for most people.


A conventional COVID-19 test detects the genes of the virus from a deep nasal swab and is designed to be able to detect large or small amounts of virus. Rapid tests are designed to detect COVID-19 only when large amounts of virus are present, meaning they are faster but will provide less accurate results.


Rapid tests are another tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19. They are being used in a limited capacity in locations where the value of immediate results outweigh the inconvenience of having to conduct two tests.


At this time, rapid tests will not replace the conventional COVID-19 test. The Abbott Panbio COVID-19 antigen test being used in the pilot program is much faster, but it has other limitations.  It is more likely to give false negative results, so everyone who takes a rapid test still has to have a second, conventional test to confirm their diagnosis. If they test negative, they should continue to complete the self screening questions before coming to work.

With a limited number of units available, rapid testing units must be placed strategically to support the province’s overall public health response. Rapid tests are most accurate when used in a community or setting where viral activity is high.


Having the testing resources in place is only one aspect of the project. Other resources needed include staff to conduct the tests, the development of information and processes for staff to follow, protective personal equipment, a laptop to record results a dedicated on-site testing room and a system to track and report results.


At this time, plans are for the sites to assign staff to be trained at Cadham Provincial Laboratory and after to conduct the tests at the site.


Positive results are reported to public health as probable cases, which are confirmed by a lab-based test. Negative results are tracked for purpose of tracking success of the program, but will not be reported on an individual basis to public health (asymptomatic individuals with no known COVID-19 exposure)


The sites were chosen because they have on-site medical staff, which allows the program to be setup without requiring additional staff from outside the facility. In addition, larger facilities have more staff, which provides additional data.


Testing is expected to begin on Dec. 21, and will be conducted for four weeks at each site. Following analysis of the results, it is expected that the project will be expanded to other licensed personal care homes in the weeks ahead.


All staff at the sites can volunteer for the pilot project. This includes staff who work with patients and those who work in other areas of the facility. The testing will be completed at variable times in the week based on the facilities resources.


Staff will be tested using the rapid testing equipment once per week. They may have a conventional lab test done as needed to confirm the results of the rapid test.


The number of tests completed at each site will depend on the number of staff at each site.





News Releases

January 14, 2021 - Fast Pass Testing Centre Pilot Program for Teachers and School Staff to Begin Jan 18.

December 17, 2020 - COVID-19 Asymptomatic Surveillance Testing Introduced in Three Personal Care Homes

December 16, 2020 - Province Partners with Red River College to Build Rapid-Testing Capacity to Protect Manitobans

November 3, 2020 - Manitoba Launches Plan to Implement Targeted, Rapid Testing for COVID-19 to Protect Manitobans