COVID-19: rapid tests will not be deployed in schools

Quebec ultimately intends to use all the rapid screening tests made available to it, but unless major outbreaks occur, these will not be deployed in schools.

• Read also: COVID-19: 2,132 new cases and 64 additional deaths in Quebec

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• Read also: COVID-19: Rapid tests to prevent outbreaks in schools

Given their unreliability and the additional resources they require, rapid tests are less practical in the school system than those analyzed in the laboratory, health ministry officials said on Thursday.

  • Listen to the interview with Josée Scalabrini, president of the FSE-CSQ, on QUB radio:

Right now, 83% of test results are already released within 24 hours, they said.

The 2.4 million rapid COVID-19 tests so far tabled may be used, however, but in very specific situations identified in the report released Thursday by an expert committee formed by the government.

” […] These rapid PDS technologies have the advantage of delivering immediate results. Deployed in an intelligent and prudent manner, these rapid diagnostic tests can have a place of choice in the control of the pandemic ”, it is specified there.

They can be used, among other things, in regions poorly served by current devices, in designated screening clinics where capacities are limited, or even to manage outbreaks in living environments for the elderly.

Earlier this week, the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, had already stated that the use of rapid tests to massively diagnose COVID-19 in schools and workplaces was not necessary at this stage.

Three types of rapid tests are available: a nucleic acid amplification test called ID NOW and two antigen tests, Panbio and BD Veritor.

Quebec lagging behind, according to opposition

In the opposition, we have the impression of reliving last spring, when the Legault government and Dr Horacio Arruda delayed before imposing the wearing of the mask.

“We have the feeling that we are all the time behind on things that become obvious,” said PQ MP Véronique Hivon.

It simply does not explain the reluctance of Minister Christian Dubé to resort to rapid screening tests.

“Why deprive yourself? In certain circumstances, it would be very relevant to have results that will come out in the space of an hour, when it can slow down more contamination in places that are at risk and that we have decided to keep open ”, a- she insisted, referring to schools as certain workplaces.

Liberal Marwah Rizqy recalled that Ontario has been using these rapid screens for a while. According to her, we have no time to waste. The member for Saint-Laurent pointed out that our hospitals are overwhelmed, that no less than 140,000 Quebecers are awaiting an operation and that the virus kills people every day.

“We are at war, so we must take all the means at our disposal to fight effectively,” she said. Quebec, we are still late and it is a race against time to fight against the coronavirus. So in schools, we need it! ”

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