Manitoba changed its COVID-19 testing criteria in response to the explosion of Omicron cases in the province.
In this article, you can find out if you qualify for a COVID-19 test at a regional location, where you can find the test you’re looking for and wait times you can expect to get tested and receive your results.
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Am I eligible to take the test?
In general, you can get tested for COVID-19 at a regional testing site if you have symptoms of the disease – which include cough, fever, chills, sore throat, among others – but the type of test, either a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or an antigen test Rapid Transit (RAT), for which your eligibility may vary.
You are eligible for RAT If you are five years of age or older and have symptoms, if public health officials have told you to get tested or if you have had asymptomatic home contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus and you do not need to self-isolate (for example, you are a relative who called, but you got a double vaccine) and have no symptoms).
The eligibility criteria for the PCR test are more specific. For a full list, visit the county’s website.
You are eligible for the PCR test If you have symptoms that fall into one of the following categories:
- you are in the hospital
- Your doctor says it is important for medical management
- You are a child or someone else who cannot do a self-exam or test at home.
- I was immune
- You may be eligible for COVID-19 treatment
- You suffer from homelessness
- I have traveled out of the country in the past two weeks.
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PCR tests are also reserved for specific people who test positive in a rapid test. These include but are not limited to certain school-age children, health care workers, and persons working in child care, education, living or health care facilities.
Manitoba who live in or visit First Nations communities are also eligible for PCR testing.
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Where can I take the test?
Winnipeg has 11 test sites, but some do not offer both PCR and RAT.
Whoever offers both types includes the following:
- 604 Saint Mary’s Rd (appointment required)
- Drive-thru test site (1066 Nairn Ave.)
- Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Test Center (445 King Street)
- MPI Drive-Thu test site (1284 Main Street)
- MPI Drive-Thru test site (125 King Edward Street)
- University of Manitoba (1 research route) (appointment required)
- Clinic without appointment at Garrick Center (330 Gary Street)
Those who submit PCR include only the following:
- 1300 Redonda Street
- Dakota Medical Center (17-845 Dakota Street)
- Minor Illness and Injury Clinic, Drive-Thru test site, hosted by Red River College (2055 Notre Dame Ave.)
The test location that only offers RAT is 820 Taylor Ave. (Appointment required).
how long will I wait?
As of Friday, the county says you can expect to wait 30 to 60 minutes or less to get a PCR test or catch a RAT. However, waiting times may vary by location and time of day.
A regional spokesperson said: “The new Taylor Rapid Test distribution site is open and many appointments are available today (Friday) with little or no waiting.”
They said turnaround times for PCR test results are up to 48 hours, but that this can also change depending on demand and lab capacity.
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