Provinces getting ready to roll out 5-minute COVID-19 tests

Two weeks ago, Canada received a shipment of 100,000 rapid tests.

The tests can detect COVID-19 in less than 13 minutes and in as short as five minutes. They are administered via nasal swab. Yes, that’s the one where they stab your brain. Joking – kinda.

It is now up to each province to determine how to distribute the rapid tests. For Ontario Premier Doug Ford, that means prioritizing communities in rural and Northern Ontario.

“This is a game-changer. It is not everything, but it is a game-changer,” he said.

Canada has ordered eight million rapid tests from the American manufacturer Abbott Panbio, 2.5 million of which are expected to arrive by the New Year.

In addition to remote communities and long-term care facilities, airports are an important venue for rapid testing. Giving international travellers the opportunity to provide a negative result on the spot could undo Canada’s mandatory quarantine. Vancouver Airport and WestJet are already working on it.

Meanwhile, as cases continue to climb, federal and provincial leaders are debating the merits of a second lockdown – a move most Canadians support.