The Manitoba government says a rapid COVID-19 testing centre is now taking appointments for all teachers and other school staff who work with students.

The Fast Pass centre is in Winnipeg and promises results within eight hours for positive results, and within 48 hours for negative results.

Fast Pass site appointments are available to teachers, educational support staff and other staff working in schools and directly with students, including bus drivers, custodians and child care staff working in school-based early learning and child care facilities.

Staff can be tested if they are symptomatic, have been identified as a close contact as a result of an exposure at school, or who have a symptomatic household member.

Clients will be required to show identification and proof of employer at the time of their appointment.

The provincial government says that there are no plans to move to rapid-testing only province-wide at this time.

"The Abbott Panbio COVID-19 antigen test being used in the pilot program is much faster, but it has other limitations," the province says in a release. "It is more likely to give false-negative results, so everyone who takes a rapid test still has to have a second, conventional test to confirm their diagnosis. If they test negative, they should continue to complete the self-screening questions before coming to work.

"With a limited number of units available, rapid testing units must be placed strategically to support the province’s overall public health response. Rapid tests are most accurate when used in a community or setting where viral activity is high."

Fast Pass site appointments must be made ahead of time by calling 1-855-268-4318, and will only be open to eligible individuals.


With files from the Canadian Press