Two COVID-19 rapid antigen test sites open today in Ottawa

Residents of Ottawa have two more chances to pick up a free COVID-19 antigen rapid test kit this week, as Ontario prepares to change the criteria for using the tests.

Two pop-up locations will be installed in Ottawa today:

  • 9 a.m. – Hazeldean Mall at 300 Eagleson Rd. In Kanata (Entrance # 2)

  • 10 a.m. – Rideau Center at 50 Rideau Street

In a Facebook post, Hazeldean Mall said there would be a limited number of kits available, “Currently that limit is 1,000”. The mall says Public Health will have a table inside the mall at Entrance # 2, just inside the gates between Laura’s Your Independent Grocer and Ottawa Valley Tours.

The Rideau Center has not disclosed where in the mall the kits will be available.

On Wednesday and Thursday, hundreds of people lined up before dawn at the Bayshore Mall to collect test kits. On Thursday the line started to form at 3:30 a.m.

The rush for rapid antigen testing comes as Ontario changes the rules for deploying test kits as cases of COVID-19 increase and testing capacity is limited.

Pop-up sites distributing free rapid antigen tests will work until January 14.

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

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

  • On-the-job testing to meet critical workforce needs in high-risk environments

  • For people without symptoms as screening, including healthcare workers

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

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