COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests (self-test kits)
Rapid antigen tests are a valuable tool that can be used to assess and monitor for COVID-19 infection. In Prince Edward Island, all COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are considered a screening test. This means that any positive test result on the test is considered preliminary and must be followed up by a molecular test at one of the provincial testing clinics.
Anyone who tests positive on a rapid antigen test should immediately self-isolate and go to a provincial testing clinic to get a molecular test as soon as possible.
There are three types of rapid antigen kits in circulation on Prince Edward Island:
SD Biosensor Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Test
Abbott PanbioTM Rapid Antigen test
BTNX Rapid Response™ Rapid Antigen test
PEI is distributing a limited supply of rapid antigen screening tests in a targeted manner focusing on the following areas:
Regular screening of frontline staff who are not fully vaccinated and work in high risk areas
Testing all staff in long-term care and community care, regardless of vaccination status
Supporting testing protocols to allow continuation of essential services, if a large number of frontline workers are identified as close contacts
Scheduled testing of travelers without symptoms (e.g. day 2 and day 4 tests)
PEI continues to work with the Government of Canada to secure additional home-based screening kits.
Self-test kits use a shallow nasal swab (2cm) to collect a sample and can provide results in as little as 15 minutes.
Self-tests should NOT be used by:
- Individuals who are symptomatic and who have a known COVID-19 exposure risk (e.g. traveled out of the province in the last 14 days or contact with someone who has COVID-19 or is suspected of having COVID-19). These individuals should be self-isolating and get tested at a provincial testing clinic right away.
- Anyone (including children) who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and who have symptoms of COVID-19. The accuracy of the rapid antigen test is even lower in people who are vaccinated. If you are vaccinated and have symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate immediately and get tested at a provincial testing clinic.
Rapid antigen tests are being provided for regular and repeated screening of individuals who are not fully vaccinated and who work in long-term care or community care facilities or who are front-line public service providers as detailed in the Vaccination Information and Testing Policy for Front-line Public Service Providers
- Screening individuals with a rapid antigen test on a regular schedule (e.g., 2 to 3 times per week) is an effective strategy to improve the accuracy of the test.
Rapid antigen tests may be used for testing children without symptoms between the ages of 5 and 7 years on Day 0-1 after travelling out of the province. Children attending school in PEI require negative tests before returning to school after travel.
- Because rapid antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests, if the rapid test is negative, it needs to be repeated in 48 hours (so Day 0-1 and then again on Day 2-3). If the test is positive, it must be confirmed by a lab-based PCR test at a COVID-19 drop-in clinic.
If other travelers arriving in PEI without symptoms are not able to be tested at the points of entry, they will also be provided rapid antigen test kits to satisfy the Day 0-1 testing requirement.
- Because rapid antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests, if the rapid test is negative, it needs to be repeated in 48 hours (so Day 0-1 and then again on Day 2-3). If the test is positive, it must be confirmed by a molecular test at a COVID-19 drop-in clinic.
Rapid antigen tests may be used for screening children who have a single and mild symptom of COVID-19, who attend school or daycare in PEI, who are too young to be vaccinated (i.e., under the age of 12), and who are not able to visit a drop-in clinic.
- If you child has a recent (i.e., last 14 days) history of travel off the Island or has had contact with someone who has COVID-19, is suspected of having COVID-19, or has recently traveled, then your child should not be tested with a rapid antigen test, but should self-isolate and visit a drop-in clinic to be tested.
- Because rapid antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests, if the rapid test is negative, it needs to be repeated in 48 hours. If the test is positive, it must be confirmed by a lab-based PCR test at a COVID-19 drop-in clinic.
- Children who are sick should stay home from school until they feel better.
Rapid tests should NOT be stored in vehicles or areas of your home/business where the temperature may go below 2 Celsius. The temperature of a COVID -19 rapid test must stay between 2 - 30 degrees (kitchen, bathroom and bedroom are good places to store the test kit until you use it).
SD Biosensor Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Test
The following video describes a step-by-step process to administer the SD Biosensor Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Test.
You can also download the written instruction sheet.
Anyone who tests positive using the SD Biosensor Rapid Antigen COVID-19 test must immediately self-isolate and go to a provincial testing clinic to get a molecular test. Close contacts are also required to isolate and go for testing.
Abbott Panbio™ Rapid Antigen Test
Abbott Panbio Rapid Antigen self test kits contain a minimum of two tests so that the test can be repeated in 48 hours. The test needs to be administered twice for best results.
Rapid Response™ Rapid Antigen Tests
Rapid Response™ Rapid Antigen Self-Test kits contain a minimum of two Rapid Response™ rapid antigen tests so that the test can be repeated in 48 hours. This test needs to be administered twice for best results.
For more information about self-test kits, please email firstname.lastname@example.org