January 20, 2022

Maryland Heights Residents

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COVID-19: Interior Health says unvaccinated are eligible for rapid tests, removes contradictory sign – Okanagan

4 min read

Confused about new guidelines regarding COVID-19 rapid testing? You’re not alone.

Earlier this week, a North Okanagan man hoping to get tested was surprised to see a sign at a health unit in Vernon saying unvaccinated people aren’t eligible for rapid tests.

Mark Prachnau of Vernon says he received one shot, and is awaiting his second, but that his wife is showing COVID symptoms and had tested positive. So he went to the health unit for a rapid test for his family.

Read more:

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As he and his children approached the health unit’s front doors, a handmade sign greeted them.

The sign said “You DO NOT qualify for rapid tests if: you are a health worker; are unvaccinated; are younger than 5, older than 65; not having symptoms; you can’t pick up for friends or family; as per Minister of Health.”

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According the province, two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are required to be considered fully vaccinated.

Prachnau noted there was a lineup of 15 or so 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 want to curb the spread of this thing, giving everybody an equal chance to get a test, whether it’s PCR or rapid … it makes sense to give people the opportunity to get a test so they can do what they need to do and stay home and stay out of the public sphere.”


Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Hospitalizations mount as B.C. confirms 9 deaths, 3,144 new cases'







COVID-19: Hospitalizations mount as B.C. confirms 9 deaths, 3,144 new cases


COVID-19: Hospitalizations mount as B.C. confirms 9 deaths, 3,144 new cases

Global News contacted Interior Health on Friday regarding rapid testing, and the health agency said, “individuals who are unvaccinated are eligible for COVID-19 testing (rapid or PCR) if they meet general criteria — most importantly that they have symptoms of COVID-19.”

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

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

“The previous signage at the Vernon site has been removed and we have followed up to ensure there is clarity.”


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Schools prepare for the return to in-person learning as Omicron cases spike


Schools prepare for the return to in-person learning as Omicron cases spike

Prachnau says he and his wife are going for PCR tests this weekend.

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

The page states that testing is available for people with symptoms by appointment at community collection centres or through take-home rapid antigen tests.

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However, it also says testing is not available for people without symptoms, for recreation or for travel purposes.

Interior Health says COVID-19 tests are recommended if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

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

Testing is also recommended if you have experienced two or more of the following symptoms for longer than 24 hours with no improvement:

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

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

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

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

Further, you are asked to notify close contacts so they can self-monitor for symptoms.


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COVID-19: At what point will a B.C. school close for functional reasons?


COVID-19: At what point will a B.C. school close for functional reasons?

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

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  • People 66 years of age and older, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status
  • Children ages four and younger
  • Health-care workers
  • People living in congregate settings 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 testing, adding “being able to test quickly and effectively is important, even if those tests may not be 100 per cent accurate.”

He added “we just want to be responsible and do what we’re supposed to do to keep other people safe.”

For more about COVID-19 testing information, visit Interior Health’s website.


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Independent modelling group forecasts massive hospital surge in B.C.


Independent modelling group forecasts massive hospital surge in B.C.




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