COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests

11 Aug.,2022


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About Rapid Antigen Tests

COVID-19 rapid antigen tests detect proteins on the surface and inside of the COVID-19 virus. These proteins are released after breaking up the virus using a simple soap solution, which is provided with the test.

These tests are easy to use and give results quickly. Most provide a result within 10 to 20 minutes, which reflects your health status at the time of the test.

Rapid antigen test kits are currently available free of charge people at many locations across the province. Manitobans are encouraged to pick up and keep some rapid tests on hand, before they develop symptoms. This will help ensure you have a self-testing option available in case anyone in the household develops symptoms in the future. To find a location near you, visit

The PCR test performed at a laboratory is still the “gold standard” test because it is more sensitive. For some people, and in some circumstances, it is recommended that a PCR test be provided. For more information on testing recommendations, visit: About PCR Tests.


How to use a rapid antigen test 

Check which kind of test you have, by examining the labels on your test supplies. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. There are small differences between different types of rapid antigen tests, so do not assume the steps are the same. Pay particular attention to how to collect the best sample and the incubation time (the time you need to wait until you read the results). Not following the steps properly, including not waiting long enough or waiting too long to read the test result, can lead to an incorrect result. Note: a faint line is still a positive.

Tests are for single-use only which means you can only use each test ONCE and then it must be thrown away in the garbage. Do not use a test (including the swab) more than once or attempt to use one test on different people. Also, if the test has expired, do not use it.

Although manufacturers’ instructions may state otherwise, the tests listed below have been determined as acceptable for self-test or home use and are suitable for symptomatic testing. The manufacturers’ instructions may include recommendations on isolation or further testing, but these are not specific to Manitoba. 


The following steps are required to perform a nasal swab for a rapid antigen tests. Remember to consult the manufacturer guidelines below for full instructions on how to perform a test and read results.

  • Perform hand hygiene.
  • Tilt your head back a little bit.
  • Take the swab provided in the kit and put it straight back (not up) into one nostril. Stop when you meet resistance (about 2 cm in).
  • Turn the swab against the inside of your nose 3 to 4 times.
  • Then use the same swab and do the same thing in the other nostril.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to perform the test:


Frequently Asked Questions


COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests - Public Health Factsheet