WINNIPEG — Manitoba will make COVID-19 rapid antigen tests available for critical service workers in order for them to return to work sooner.
The province currently provides rapid tests to asymptomatic designated staff under public health orders who have not provided proof that they are fully vaccinated.
Eligibility for rapid antigen tests will now include symptomatic workers in the following sectors:
- Early learning and child-care facilities
- Community Living disABILITY Services service providers
- Child and family services group care providers
- Homeless and family violence shelters
- Manitoba Families, working in front-line positions with clients
- School teachers or staff with direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with kindergarten to Grade 12 students.
Kits won’t be made available for healthy staff to have on hand in case they become ill, due to limited supply. Tests will be provided directly to staff who are already showing COVID-19 symptoms and are scheduled to work in the near future (within three days). Home-based early learning and child care providers who become symptomatic and would like to access testing supplies should contact their child care co-ordinator.
Manitoba health officials aren’t recommending rapid antigen tests for young children at child-care centres. Instead, parents are advised to visit a provincial test site.
The province also announced Tuesday it will be implementing a testing program for asymptomatic teachers, staff and kindergarten to Grade 12 students at Manitoba schools experiencing high case numbers or high levels of absenteeism.
It’s expected the rapid testing programs will be in place by January 17. Meanwhile, plans are also being developed to further deploy rapid testing for Manitoba Corrections staff and sheriffs.