B.C. health officials have slowly begun making free rapid tests available to a wider segment of the population at pharmacies, recently expanding access to those 30 and older.
Under the current distribution system, eligible individuals can pick up a single rapid antigen test kit containing five tests every 28 days at a pharmacy either for themselves or for someone else.
Results from a rapid test — regardless of whether it is positive or negative — can be voluntarily submitted to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)’s website.
However, any results submitted to the BCCDC are not included in official coronavirus case counts reported out by provincial health officials, according to a Ministry of Health spokesperson.
“While rapid antigen test results are not included in reporting, we encourage people to report a positive result online,” the spokesperson told CHEK News in an e-mailed statement.
BCCDC’s website states that results submitted to them will only be used to identify individuals who may benefit from additional public health support and to identify those who may benefit from coronavirus “treatment.”
The website also says the purpose of the self-reporting form is for officials to “understand how the virus is moving through our community and how to prevent the virus from spreading further.”
As of March 17, nearly 7.6 million rapid tests have been shipped to pharmacies in B.C., and more than 2.3 rapid tests have been dispensed through the over 1,300 participating pharmacies, according to recent data from the provincial government.
B.C. has received more than 43 million rapid tests from the federal government and is expecting to receive 2.5 million tests from the government in the coming weeks.