Free at-home rapid COVID-19 tests now available in some Quebec pharmacies. Here's how to get yours
As COVID-19 cases are soaring across Quebec, the provincial government is now offering free rapid antigen tests for residents to take home with them.
The province said the free tests, which can usually cost consumers around $40 in most pharmacies, can help give Quebecers some “peace of mind” as they prepare to gather with families over the holidays. The roll-out of the tests started gradually on Dec. 20.
Here’s how it works:
WHO CAN GET A RAPID TEST?
Anyone 14 and older can get a free take-home rapid test kit from a pharmacy. Visitors will be asked to show their health card when they show up and are being advised that they will not be able to get more than one kit by visiting multiple pharmacies, according to the Quebec Association of Pharmacist Owners the AQPP.
A spokesperson for the province’s health ministry said “special procedures” will be in place for people who don’t have a health card.
“We are also counting on the cooperation of the population to ensure that the distribution of the self-tests takes place in a respectful manner,” the spokesperson said in an email.
The government recommends rapid tests only be used by people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
WHERE DO I GET A RAPID TEST?
In Quebec, the free tests will be distributed across 1,900 pharmacies in the province.
While some jurisdictions like Alberta provides an online map of locations offering free rapid tests, in Quebec people will have to call their local pharmacy or visit their websites to find out if they are being offered there.
Residents can find a list of pharmacies closest to them by entering their postal code on the Goverment of Quebec's website.
“Tests will be distributed as we receive them, but they may not be available at all pharmacies in the first days of deployment. Participating pharmacies will be continuously restocked in the coming weeks depending on arrivals from the federal government,” the association said in a statement on Dec. 15.
How the pharmacies choose to distribute the tests is up to them. For example, Jean Coutu and Brunet pharmacies require people to book an appointment in advance in order to pick up a rapid test kit. At other pharmacies, rapid tests are offered on a first-come-first-served basis. Call or visit your nearest pharmacy for more information.
The @C19TestFinders Twitter account has been hunting for locations offering free rapid tests in Ontario, following in the footsteps of the popular vaccine hunter Twitter account earlier in the pandemic. @C19TestFinders founder Dr. Dalia Hasan told CTV News she is offering the same service for Quebecers.
HOW MANY TESTS CAN I TAKE?
Every 30 days, Quebecers will be eligible to receive one free testing kit. Each kit contains five rapid tests.
The Quebec government has said it will roll out 10 million free rapid antigen tests province-wide, depending on supply, until March 31, 2022.
ARE RAPID TESTS EFFECTIVE?
The ministry of health says there are both advantages and disadvantages of rapid antigen testing. They are easy to use and you can get a result in less than 15 minutes, but they can also sometimes provide false positives.
If your rapid test comes back positive, you should book a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which is considered the gold standard for COVID-19 testing, and self-isolate until you receive a negative test result.
Public health experts say a rapid test is just one layer of protection from the coronavirus and it can be a useful tool if used properly and in a timely manner.
"With Omicron, that means that you can't rely on a negative test that is old," Dr. Matthew Oughton, an infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University, told CTV earlier this month.
“So If you're going to some sort of get-together, then it really makes sense to do that rapid test very soon before that gathering happens."
More information about rapid testing is available on the government’s website.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
W5 INVESTIGATES | Fewer firefighters mean slower response times, jeopardizing lives
Saturday at 7 p.m.: a CTV W5 investigation reveals that a critical shortage of volunteer firefighters in this country is having a potentially deadly impact, especially in rural Canada.
Mendicino says Alberta's resistance to federal gun buyback plan is 'reckless' and 'a political stunt'
Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino is calling Alberta Justice Minister and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro's plan to direct RCMP in the province not to enforce confiscations of prohibited firearms 'reckless,' and is amounting it to 'a political stunt' that won't hold up.
As of this morning, travellers to Canada do not need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 -- and wearing a mask on planes and trains is now optional, though it is still recommended.
Rescuers searched for survivors among the ruins of Florida's flooded homes from Hurricane Ian while authorities in South Carolina waited for daylight to assess damage from its strike there as the remnants of one of the strongest and costliest hurricanes to ever hit the U.S. continued to push north.
Offices in Canada still haven't returned to their pre-pandemic occupancy rates, and now a growing number of underused buildings are being converted into apartments and condominiums. CTVNews.ca takes a look at this trend.
Canada is headed for a 'severe' and 'almost inevitable' recession in early 2023, according to the head of economics at Macquarie Group, which states Canada will face an approximately three per cent contraction in gross domestic product and a five per cent rise in its unemployment rate during the predicted recession.
Ceremonies, marches and other gatherings are taking place across the country Friday as communities mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The federal statutory holiday was established last year to remember children who died while being forced to attend residential schools, as well as those who survived, and the families and communities still affected by lasting trauma.
A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal South Carolina on Friday, ripping apart piers and flooding streets after the ferocious storm caused catastrophic damage in Florida, trapping thousands in their homes and leaving at least 17 people dead.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed treaties Friday to illegally annex more occupied Ukrainian territory in a sharp escalation of his war. Ukraine's president countered with a surprise application to join the NATO military alliance.
Toronto's election is less than a month away. Here's what some mayoral candidates are pledging ahead of upcoming debate
Toronto’s municipal election is less than a month away, but there seems to be a lack of campaign buzz across the city.
Peel Regional Police say one person had been taken into custody early Saturday morning, ending an hours-long standoff at a medical facility in Mississauga.
One person has died following a collision on Highway 401 in Mississauga.
Employees who have suffered wage losses due to the destruction of post-tropical storm Fiona on Prince Edward Island are set to benefit from a new program by the provincial government.
‘The truth hurts but it also heals’: Halifax recognizes the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Drums and singing could be heard at the Grand Parade in Halifax as many gathered in orange to honour residential school survivors and those who never returned home.
Major clean-up efforts continue in Cape Breton on Friday as many on the island remain in the dark.
'I met with residential school survivors for inspiration': Indigenous murals unveiled in downtown London, Ont.
A panel of seven Indigenous murals was unveiled in downtown London, Ont. on Truth and Reconciliation Day.
Veronica Ninham wipes away tears as she listens to speakers talk about the pain of relatives who attended residential schools.
Hospital officials are informing the public of a temporary Emergency Department closure at Walkerton hospital.
Communities across northern Ontario are marking National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – also known as Orange Shirt Day – with ceremonies and events recognizing the impact of the Canadian Indian residential school system.
It was an emotional day on Nipissing First Nation as a survivor shared her deeply personal experience attending a northern Ontario residential school on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Ontario's ninth Indigenous university officially opened in Sault Ste. Marie across from a former residential school on National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Indigenous community members and their allies gathered in Morley, Alta., on Friday to recognize the intergenerational traumas of Canada’s residential school system.
The nerves were high for Tsuaki Marule as she sang O Canada in front of thousands of fans at the Toronto Blue Jays game on Friday.
Calgarians gathered to remember, educate and listen on Friday for the country's second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Kitchener’s first Artist-in-Residence plans to share stories of underrepresented voices through portraits
The City of Kitchener announced, earlier this month, that Bangishimo Johnston would be the 2022 Artist-in-Residence.
A growing garden in Breslau, aimed at nurturing relationships and reconciliation, is now ready for harvest.
Songs of determination and steps of solidarity filled the streets of downtown Kitchener Friday morning, marking the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
'It's still a lot of hurting': Survivors of former North Vancouver residential school return to the site
Survivors of a former North Vancouver residential school were among hundreds who gathered at the site for a pilgrimage Friday.
The Musqueam Indian Band has gifted a replacement name for Trutch Street to the City of Vancouver, more than a decade after members first called for a change.
The City of White Rock marked the second ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday by raising the flag of the Semiahmoo First Nation at city hall.
A prominent member of Edmonton's soccer community was one of two victims in Wednesday's fatal crash in Mill Woods.
The province unveiled images of a new permanent statue to be placed on Alberta legislature grounds that will honour residential school survivors and the children that never made it home.
A meteorite with special significance is being returned to Indigenous people after more than 100 years.
Windsor police say they “strongly discourage” everyone from attending a possible unsanctioned homecoming street party.
Students and staff across Windsor and Essex County commemorated the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday.
Essex County OPP have launched an investigation into the death of a woman in Leamington.
Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty hosted an event for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at the Residential School Memorial on the grounds of Government House in Regina.
Downtown Regina was host to a memorial walk Friday morning, acting as one part of the many gatherings for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in the Queen City.
'I still struggle': Residential school survivors share stories during National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
People in Regina gathered at the Eagle Heart Centre on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. For the community it's a time to acknowledge.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Ottawa police promise 'zero tolerance' approach to Panda Game festivities
Ottawa police say there will be a "significant and sustained" police presence in Sandy Hill and Old Ottawa South today, keeping an eye on Panda Game festivities.
Highway 417 is closed between Metcalfe Street and Carling/Kirkwood avenues until 6 a.m. on Tuesday for the replacement of the Rochester Street bridge.
A construction worker is being treated for injuries after being struck by a large piece of concrete at a construction site in downtown Ottawa.
Shirley Isbister had trouble believing her eyes Friday as she stood at the bottom of Victoria Park in Saskatoon watching more than 1,000 people dressed in orange shirts pour in from the street above for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
More than four thousand people attended the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) Pow Wow and Concert at SaskTel Centre on Friday.
Newly appointed president of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Alika Lafontaine shares what the organization plans to do in helping save the country’s collapsing health-care system.