Long lines for COVID-19 fast tests in the Ottawa suburbs, but not in downtown

Hundreds of people lined up in the early morning cold of Kanata for COVID-19 rapid tests last Friday, but that was a different story at a pick-up point in the center.

The Ontario government ran rapid test pickups at the Hazeldean Mall in Kanata and the Rideau Center in downtown Ottawa on Friday.

In Kanata, hundreds of people lined up outside the mall and then down the sidewalks of Eagleson and Hazeldean roads to get tested.

At the Rideau Center, some people lined up early for the tests, which were handed out on the fourth floor. But soon there was no line at all with many samples still to be handed out.

Rideau Center

In a Facebook post, Hazeldean Mall said there will be a limited supply of sets available, “Currently, the limit is 1,000.”

On Wednesday and Thursday, hundreds of people lined up before dawn at the Bayshore Shopping Center to pick up test kits. On Thursday, the line began to form at. 03.30

The urgency of picking up fast antigen tests comes as Ontario changes the rules for implementing the test kits as COVID-19 cases increase and test capacity is limited.

The pop-up sites handing out free fast antigen tests are running until January 14th.

Under the new rules, the tests will no longer be recommended for “one-time” use, including before social gatherings, due to the risk of false negatives.

Ontario announced rapid antigen testing for the most vulnerable sectors will now be recommended for three purposes:

  • Test-to-work purposes to meet critical workforce needs in the highest risk settings

  • For people without symptoms such as screening, including healthcare professionals

  • For people with COVID-19 symptoms. If two consecutive RATs, separated by 24-48 hours, are both negative, the symptomatic individual is less likely to become infected.


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