COVID-19: Interior Health says unvaccinated eligible for rapid testing, removes conflicting sign – Okanagan


Confused about the new guidelines for the COVID-19 rapid test? You’re not alone.

Earlier this week, a north Okanagan man hoping to get tested was surprised to see a sign at a Vernon health unit saying unvaccinated people are not eligible for rapid testing.

Vernon’s Mark Prachnau says he received an injection and is expecting his second, but his wife is showing symptoms of COVID and has tested positive. So he went to the health unit for a quick test for his family.

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As he and his children approached the front doors of the health unit, a hand-made sign greeted them.

The sign read, “You ARE NOT eligible for rapid tests if: you are a health worker; are not vaccinated; are under 5 years old, over 65 years old; not have any symptoms; you cannot pick up friends or family; according to the Minister of Health.

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By province, two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are required to be considered fully immunized.

Prachnau noted that there was a line of around 15 people outside the health unit, presumably to be tested.

In an interview with Global News on Friday, Prachnau said: “It seems to me that if we’re going to stop the spread of this thing, give everyone an equal chance to get tested, whether it’s PCR or rapid… it makes sense. to give people the opportunity to take a test so that they can do whatever they need to do and stay home and stay out of the public sphere.


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COVID-19: Hospitalizations increase as British Columbia confirms 9 deaths, 3,144 new cases


COVID-19: Hospitalizations increase as British Columbia confirms 9 deaths, 3,144 new cases

Global News contacted Interior Health on Friday about rapid testing, and the health agency said, “Unvaccinated people are eligible for COVID-19 (rapid or PCR) testing if they meet general criteria – especially they are showing symptoms of COVID-19. “

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The health agency added that in some cases a PCR test would be a preferred test for unvaccinated people because they are at a higher risk of serious illness.

“People are assessed when they come to the clinic, so generally people cannot take the tests for other people,” Interior Health said.

“Previous signage on the Vernon site has been removed and we have followed up to ensure clarity. “


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Prachnau says he and his wife will be having PCR tests this weekend.

On Interior Health’s website, a page says testing guidelines for COVID-19 have changed.

The page says testing is available for people with symptoms by appointment at community collection centers or through rapid take-out antigen tests.

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However, it also states that the tests are not available for people without symptoms, for leisure or travel purposes.

Interior Health says COVID-19 testing is recommended if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Difficulty in breathing

The test is also recommended if you have experienced two or more of the following symptoms for more than 24 hours without improvement:

  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache or stiffness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Interior Health says a COVID-19 test is not recommended if:

  • You have no symptoms, even if you have close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • You are fully vaccinated (two doses)
  • Has mild symptoms and can manage your illness at home

If you have mild symptoms, Interior Health says you should self-isolate for at least five days and until your fever is gone for 24 hours and your symptoms have improved.

Additionally, you are required to notify close contacts so that they can monitor symptoms themselves.


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The health agency says COVID-19 tests are available by appointment for those at higher risk, including

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  • People aged 66 and over, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status
  • Children four and under
  • Health workers
  • People living in places of gathering where isolation from others (non-family members) may be difficult, such as shelters or group homes

Prachnau hopes people will have equal access to rapid tests, adding “being able to test quickly and efficiently is important, even though these tests may not be 100% accurate.”

He added “we just want to be responsible and do what we are supposed to do to keep others safe.”

For more information on COVID-19 testing, visit Interior Health website.


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Julio V. Miller