- Hub staff

Do you want to report the results of your rapid COVID-19 test? You are not alone. The United Kingdom has been asking residents to report their results for the last nine months. On the other hand, some experts in Canada warn to take this data with a grain of salt. Since you will be the one providing your data, it is clearly up to you to decide what to do with your result.

If you want to “err on the sunnier side of doubt” and share your result, here are two free easy ways to do it right now. You will not have to give any personal information. You will also be able to see the rate of positives, based on all the data sent in by others like you. A short summary of the data is included in the table below.

COVID-19 Tracker Canada: For more information, contact [email protected]
Rapid Report: For more information contact [email protected]

These data are not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about COVID-19 rates. The same can be said of the PCR test data, especially now that many Canadians no longer have access to timely PCR testing. Nonetheless, rapid test results are additional data that might be useful to better understand the true spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

What else can you do to help? Get vaccinated. Keep your distance. Wear your mask, a good one if you can find one. Check out other ways you can help to cut down the spread of COVID-19 and take care of yourself and others while you do that.

Reduce spread: https://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/COVID-19/What-can-I-do-to-prevent-the-spread
Take care of yourself and others: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19/faq-and-resources


Notes on the summary

Timeline: Data for Ontario PCR results are based on 7-day averages as of Dec 30, 2021 (most recently available data for Grey-Bruce and Southwest). Data from other sources are current as of Jan 8, 2022.

Geographic regions: For PCR data, region is assumed based on the health unit assigned to the result. For the other sources, results are assigned to regions based on the first 3 digits of the postal code provided by those reporting their results. If people did not give their postal code, their results were not included in this table.

Duplicates: There is nothing preventing a person from reporting more than one result so these are the number of tests, not the number of people. This is true of all three data sources.

Bias: Some people may be more likely to get tested and/or report their result if they are positive, making the positive rate look higher than what is happening in real life. This is also true of all three data sources and may explain why the positive rate is different for different reports.

Benefits of rapid COVID-19 test result reporting

Briefly the two main benefits of on-line rapid test result reporting are better community engagement and participation in pandemic management and additional data about community spread, both of which can be achieved with very little investment of time and money. More details on the benefits are presented below.

Public engagement: The invitation to report their test results publicly increases engagement of members of the public in efforts to manage the pandemic.

Increase public sense of control: Entering test result data gives people interested in playing a more active role in managing the pandemic something useful to do.

Uptake of COVID-19 management advice: When people come to the web site to enter their data, they may be more interested and/or receptive to additional information about managing the risk of COVID-19 to themselves and those around them.

Address message fatigue: Adding a new activity (ie reporting rapid results) may be sufficiently novel to increase interest of members of the public who are tired of the “same old” messages about the pandemic.

Additional information about community spread: Results can give the public as well as professionals more information about COVID-19 spread than what is available via the now-limited PCR test results.

Low risk and investment: Very little is needed in terms of time and money to collect rapid test results, making any possible benefit even more valuable, relative to investment required.

Risks of rapid COVID-19 test result reporting

Senior public health officials agree that the data from rapid tests is valuable but generally do not support citizen-led and/or local initiatives for data collection. Unfortunately, there is not yet a regional, central, government-led option for rapid test reporting in any province in Canada. Hence, the initiatives above have been launched. The risks of these tools are low, with privacy risk limited to those that collect personal or community-level information (which most do not do). The risk of misinterpretation of data will not be higher or lower with the introduction of rapid test results reporting.




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