Quebecers can now report their rapid test results; critic says new system missed an opportunity
About a month after reaching its official COVID-19 testing capacity, on Tuesday the Quebec government launched its long-awaited platform meant to help capture all the unofficial tests now being done at home.
The website allows Quebecers to submit the results of their rapid tests, whether negative or positive, in order to give authorities a better overall picture of how the virus is circulating in the province.
But one Montrealer who came up with a citizen-run version much sooner says there are some basic ingredients lacking from the governmental version, including some verifications that the tests submitted are real.
"They do not validate the lot number or the test used," wrote Olivier Drouin on Twitter.
Drouin, who began the site COVID Ecoles Quebec in August 2020 to track school cases, created his own rapid test self-submission site earlier this month, and designed it differently.
He told CTV he hoped for even more from the government's site, since it could have built in the ability to check the validity of test results -- not only for the sake of the data's credibility, but for citizens' needs to have their illnesses verified for various reasons.
"People have had issues proving they had, or have, COVID to their employers, [and] to insurance companies for disability claims," he pointed out.
Drouin's site collects no personal information, unlike the official platform, but it does ask people to prove they used a legitimate rapid test, and gives them the option of declaring what school they're associated with, if any.
So far, Drouin's system has garnered 843 positive test result reports, which he is publishing on a live map.
Quebec's health minister said the official platform will be very useful to the government and encouraged people to use it.
“With such a tool now available to the public, it will be easier for our public health teams to assess the progression of the virus within the community," said Minister Christian Dubé in a statement Tuesday.
"We will therefore be able to have a more realistic overall picture, which will help public health to adjust health measures according to the real epidemiological situation."
The province didn't immediately say if, when or how the results will be made public.
This kind of platform has been needed for the past month, since PCR tests done at clinics and processed by labs became out of reach for most Quebecers, the province acknowledged.
Since jan. 5, these have been limited to a small subgroup of essential workers, including health-care workers and now teachers. For weeks, the province has included a disclaimer with its official case counts that these numbers are no longer accurate.
"In a context where tests in screening centers are now reserved for certain very specific priority groups and where the number of known cases is therefore underestimated, such a tool will help to better assess the positivity rate of the population," the province wrote Tuesday in a release.
Drouin's citizen-run crowdsourcing can't be used for these kinds of official purposes. However, in a side-by-side comparison on Twitter, he pointed out some things he felt were lacking from the province's effort.
For one thing, the province does take personal information -- which is standard for its health platforms, such as Clic-Santé. It said on Tuesday that the platform has been tested for cybersecurity.
It asks users to submit their name, birthdate and gender, as well as their health insurance numbers, if they have health cards.
They enter the results of their test and click a button attesting that they're telling the truth.
Drouin's page, meanwhile, doesn't ask for any personal identifying information, but does ask for the first three digits of the person's postal code. It also gives an option to submit a school name if one is associated with the person in question.
It also asks users to fill out several fields with details about the rapid test itself: its lot number, expiry date and fabrication code found on the box.
GOVERNMENT'S NEEDS AREN'T THE ONLY ONES TO CONSIDER: DROUIN
Drouin told CTV News he's disappointed with how much wasn't done on the official site, considering the government did have the option to do much more with this kind of tool.
It asks for no information about the test itself, he pointed out, other than whether it was positive or negative: no date the test was taken, no way to trace which test kit was used or whether it was real.
That adds up, he said, to "no official confirmation from government that you had COVID at a given date."
In reality, he said, the government should realize this is a pressing need for many regular people.
"All of the people testing with rapid tests are orphan cases that are not officially tracked or recognized," he said.
He predicted that if the province misses the opportunity to help in this area, there will be many more problems down the road, as a glut of people have trouble properly diagnosing their symptoms or getting compensation, he said.
"A few months from now, when people that were positive on rapid test [and] have no proof from government they were positive at a given date start developing long-COVID permanent symptoms, they will face issues," he said.
Late last month, after tests became out of reach, CTV News asked Quebec's worker's rights board (CNESST) what kind of proof was needed for workers to receive compensation if they were infected on the job and needed
"For compensation purposes... the CNESST accepts positive COVID-19 test results from the following two sources: from the [provincial] COVID-19 Screening Platform OR from a written confirmation from the Ministry of Health and of Social Services," said a spokesperson from the board.
In other words, if PCR test results were not provided as usual, workers would need to receive written proof from the health ministry. The CNESST directed further questions to the health ministry to learn more about those two options.
In an email, the health ministry said that for its own workers in the health and social system, a PCR test following a rapid test is necessary for proof.
"In the current context, it would be impossible for Public Health to confirm all the results of rapid tests," it wrote.
Have you had any problems at work after not being able to prove a positive infection with an at-home test? Tell us about your experience at MontrealDigitalNews@bellmedia.ca
Montreal Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Some are calling attention to a comment about 'Anglo-Saxon words' that Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre made while appearing as a guest on controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson’s podcast. The term has been used by those on the far-right to differentiate white people from immigrants and people of colour.
Ed Fast is no longer the Conservative finance critic, interim party leader Candice Bergen says. Bergen said in a statement late Wednesday that Fast informed her he will be 'stepping away from his duties.'
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is watching 'carefully' how Quebec's Bill 96 is playing out provincially and respects the freedom of members of Parliament to protest it.
With Statistics Canada reporting a 9.7 per cent increase in food costs over the last year, Canadians are being pushed to find ways to pinch pennies at the grocery stores. Here are some ways to save.
Crown prosecutors want Ottawa protest organizer Tamara Lich sent back to jail to await trial, claiming she breached her bail conditions by agreeing to participate in an event next month where she will receive a 'Freedom Award.'
As Johnny Depp's defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard stretches into its fifth week, experts say public reaction to Heard's testimony sends a perilous reminder that despite the 'MeToo' movement, the credibility of alleged victims of abuse can be fragile.
Provincial police announced Wednesday the human remains found in the water in Dunnville, Ont., the day before are that of a young girl.
The Conservative Party of Canada is investigating a complaint lodged by Patrick Brown's leadership campaign about a racist email it says it received from a member.
Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner has tested positive for COVID-19 in the midst of the 2022 provincial election campaign.
INVESTIGATION | Dozens of MPP investment properties surge to more than $36 million as Ontario housing affordability worsens
Dozens of candidates running for re-election are sitting on investment properties that are surging millions in value as a housing crisis takes hold across Ontario, according to a review of disclosures by CTV News and a new home valuation tool.
A man says he is still in shock after his SUV was stolen from his Scarborough driveway in one of the three carjackings in Toronto that occurred in the span of two hours Wednesday.
Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman killed by police in New Brunswick in June 2020, was shot twice in the chest, once in the abdomen and once in her left leg, the pathologist who conducted an autopsy on her said Wednesday.
A Mountie who led much of the response to the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting testified Wednesday that spotty radio service and the lack of an RCMP helicopter were among the equipment problems that hampered the manhunt.
Halifax Regional Police have released the identity of a woman who died after she was stabbed early Tuesday morning.
London police are warning the public Wednesday after a man charged with multiple sexual assault offences was released following a court appearance.
A woman who had her polar bear statue stolen from her front garden last week has managed to get it back in what was a heartfelt reunion on Wednesday.
London, Ont. police are investigating an overnight shooting in the city.
A two-day symposium is underway at Cambrian College that aims to create and enhance support for students who are part of the LGTBQ2S community, as well as allies.
As festivals and events return to in-person formats, memories of COVID-19 may not necessarily be top of mind for people as they make summer plans.
A microbrewery in Timmins has taken bronze at the Canadian Brewing Awards in Calgary.
Seeing a doctor in the emergency department is taking longer than usual at most Calgary hospitals, according to some Calgary area families and internal data from Alberta Health Services.
Flames fans suffered a setback before a single puck was dropped Wednesday night in the opening game of the Battle of Alberta.
The woman was charged with two counts of assault in November after an investigation into “allegations she taped two children with masking tape while in the classroom,” Waterloo regional police said at the time.
No bedroom, no bathroom, no kitchen. Why one retiree decided to buy -- and live -- in a caboose.
The rising cost of food, shelter, and other expenses pushed Canada's inflation rate to a 31-year high last month. People are paying a lot more for many basic needs than they were last year at this time, and small businesses are also struggling to manage higher prices for the goods they need to keep going.
Like B.C., Washington state is seeing record-high gas prices. But it's significantly cheaper to fuel up in Blaine than just across the border in Surrey.
PhD student Brennan Jones wants to lend a helping hand to the B.C. search and rescue volunteers he calls heroes.
If you want to watch the Battle of Alberta series with thousands of fans, you have a few options in Edmonton.
Children in Edmonton and beyond will be the winners in the the Battle of Alberta. The team has announced that proceeds from the Mega 50/50 jackpot in Round 2 will benefit the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, which supports kids sport charities in the community.
A LaSalle mom is expressing concern online over a “tasteless” poster in a classroom at her daughter’s school.
Like many on social media, Bianca Havenga uses her Instagram for the occasional selfie and to share personal updates with her close friends — so she didn't suspect anything when one of her co-workers seemingly messaged her, asking for help.
Leamington by-law officers will soon be using drones to get a bird’s eye view of any problems.
According to TSN Football Insider Dave Naylor, a preseason game scheduled for May 23 between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be moved.
Nadine Wilson, the Independent MLA of Saskatchewan Rivers, was removed from the Saskatchewan legislature after refusing to apologize for comments made towards the government, following Wednesday’s fierce Question Period session.
Environment Canada has confirmed the first tornado in Saskatchewan touched down Tuesday night near Keeler, about 50 kilometres north of Moose Jaw.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla had a busy itinerary in Ottawa on Day 2 of their visit to Canada, running behind schedule for much of the day, but patient royal watchers were thrilled to meet them.
Gas prices are set to fall 13 cents a litre over the next two days, giving drivers some relief at the pumps ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend.
A man whose brother lived in a group home in Hepburn, Sask. and was allegedly abused by a worker is speaking out.
Following the collapse of Epic Alliance, one investor learned they were the landlord of a property that no longer existed.
A statue of Indigenous hockey trailblazer Fred Sasakamoose was unveiled outside SaskTel Centre on Wednesday.