With access to free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to detect the virus early and at home, Albertans can help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Government of Alberta provides free COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits for at-home use to Albertans made available through participating pharmacies. At Brintnell Pharmacy and Travel Clinic, we are proud to be a participating pharmacy offering the much-needed rapid test kits to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
We also offer COVID-19 rapid antigen testing at our pharmacy for travel, work, or personal need for a fee of $20 per test. The COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits we use for this test at our pharmacy are not publicly funded.
The COVID-19 rapid antigen test is a test that looks for a specific protein from the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). The test is convenient in that it doesn’t need any special equipment, producing a result in just 15 minutes. With the understanding that it can take some time for the body to develop enough detectable protein after exposure to COVID-19 for the rapid test to pick up, each COVID-19 rapid antigen test kit includes five rapid tests. An infection can be detected as soon as possible with repeated screening.
If you have had contact with COVID-19 but haven’t started to show any symptoms, rapid tests should be performed twice per week, at least 72 hours apart for two weeks. The test kit contains the fifth test in case one of the tests yields an invalid result.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- Chest pain
- Loss of speech or mobility or confusion
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Aches and pains
- Sore throat
- A loss of taste or smell
- Fever and/or chills
COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are considerably less sensitive than COVID-19 PCR tests, which can result in a negative test result even when a person is infected with COVID-19. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 but have had a negative result on a rapid antigen test, it’s important to do a PCR test to find out whether or not you have COVID-19 infection and to stay home and isolated from others until the symptoms resolve, following all relevant public health guidelines.