The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Community Health Program has been informed of at-home rapid testing being utilized in detecting the COVID-19 virus, and providing a false-negative result. False-negative results are being confirmed from at-home rapid testing, with the person developing symptoms and being positive via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing days after their at-home rapid result. The at-home rapid testing is not as accurate as the PCR (nasal swab) testing that is completed within the various health facilities in Akwesasne. The rapid test should be followed up by a PCR test to confirm results. Any COVID-19 test should be guided by a healthcare professional. 

The PCR (nasal swab) test is considered the “gold standard” in COVID-19 testing. This test detects genetic material specific to COVID-19, and can detect the virus within days of infection, even in those with no symptoms. Results from the PCR test generally take longer (2-7 days). The antigen (rapid) test detects specific fragments of the COVID-19 virus, with results coming as fast as 15 minutes. Rapid tests are most accurate in those who have developed symptoms; for those who don’t have symptoms, a false-negative result can be as high as 50%. 

A false-negative result means that the results came back negative, but the person taking the test does in fact have the virus. False-negative rapid results can have disastrous consequences in trying to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19. 

If you’ve been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, please quarantine, and contact the Community Health Program at 613-575-2341 ext. 3220, to schedule your COVID-19 PCR test. Community Health will provide guidance on when to get tested (7-9 days post-exposure is advised), and will provide you with an appointment to receive your test.