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.



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. Eligible Fast Pass clients will be able to access a positive test result on the same day of receiving a test to enable faster contact tracing and earlier notifications. Staff can be tested if they are symptomatic, have been identified as a close contact as a result of an exposure at school, 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.  Eligible Fast Pass clients will be able to access a positive test result on the same day of receiving a test. This will enable faster contact tracing and earlier notifications.  Manitoba’s first Fast Pass site launched January 18 at 1066 Nairn Ave. in Winnipeg. 


Fast Pass site appointments are available to 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 can be tested if they are symptomatic, have been identified as a close contact as a result of an exposure at school, or who have a symptomatic household member.

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.


A positive result will be available for clients on the Shared Health portal within about eight hours. This will help enable faster contact tracing for school staff, their families and the school community.

Tests that come back negative or inconclusive may take up to 48 hours before a result is available on the portal.  During the pilot phase, negative results at Fast Pass sites will require confirmation using the regular COVID-19 test before results can be provided.  This approach is consistent with other rapid tests being used for diagnostic purposes in Manitoba.


The Songbird Hyris bCUBE lab-based rapid test is new to Manitoba. Many rapid test types have been shown to have a higher volume of false-negatives.   The Fast Pass program is being launched as a pilot to allow for necessary validations to occur so that clients and their families can be confident in their results.  The need to re-test negative results may be revisited once necessary evaluations are completed.


Fast Pass site appointments must be made ahead of time by calling 1-855-268-4318, and will only be open to eligible individuals. Clients will be required to show identification and proof of employer at the time of their appointment.


The Fast Pass site at 1066 Nairn Ave. in Winnipeg will be open daily from 7:00 am- 3:00 pm, although the majority of appointment slots will be available in the morning to allow for necessary test processing time.


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.  Child care centre letters must clearly indicate that the site is within a school setting. 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.


No. At this time the focus of Fast Pass sites is the school-based workforce.


The Fast Pass pilot program uses the Songbird Hyris bCUBE lab-based rapid test.  Fast Pass focuses on providing school-based staff who are symptomatic or considered close contacts with a faster route to a positive result.  This supports timely diagnosis and earlier contact tracing and notifications in our school community.   It also provides Manitoba’s school-based 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.

Manitoba may expand the Fast Pass program to other locations, including Winkler and Brandon at a later date.


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.


As with all COVID-19 tests, Fast Pass clients and their household members will be required to isolate until a negative result is received.  Fast Pass clients who receive a positive result, or who have a household member that has tested positive for COVID-19, will be required to continue to isolate and follow public health advice.  See: 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