COVID-19: Most Canadians have not asked guests to test before gatherings

Only 14 per cent of Canadians in the online poll have asked some or all of their friends and family to take a test before gathering

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The vast majority of Canadians have not asked friends and family to get tested for COVID-19 before their Easter weekend or Passover gatherings, according to a new poll.

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According to the research – commissioned by Rapid Test & Trace Canada and conducted online with members of the Angus Reid Forum – only eight per cent of those gathered expected all of their guests to take a rapid test. Six percent asked some of them to take one.

That combined total of 14% is just over half the percentage who asked friends and family to get tested ahead of winter holiday gatherings, while 26% did. (That’s according to a similar survey conducted in March.)

In general, Canadians don’t test themselves much either: 78% of respondents said they didn’t take any tests during or after the Easter/Passover weekend. Some 13% took one, 8% took two or three, and 1% said they took more than three.

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About the same percentage who asked guests to test – 15% – said they choose to wear a mask when visiting friends and family indoors.

“We want Canadians to wake up and accept that COVID isn’t over,” said Sandy White, co-founder of Rapid Test & Trace Canada, which recommends people ask guests to get tested ahead of the upcoming British holiday. Mother’s Day and Victoria Day.

“Hospitalizations are increasing across the country and are currently at the second highest level of the pandemic. Canadians should take the protection of themselves and their family and friends seriously by simply taking a COVID test before gathering for parties. »

While Rapid Test & Trace Canada sells COVID test kits to individuals and organizations, including big companies like Toyota and Hello Fresh, the kits are also available for free at hundreds of pharmacies across British Columbia.

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A similar percentage of Canadians said they held holiday gatherings with people outside their household in December and April: 43% did so in the winter and 39% in the spring. About a quarter (27%) have met 10 or more friends and family; more than a third (35%) met with five to nine people and 38% met less than five people.

The survey also showed that young Canadians are catching COVID at a higher rate than older age groups. More than a third, 34%, in the 18-34 age group said they had tested positive for COVID at some point; 30% of people aged 35 to 54 said they had done so; while 14% of over-55s reported testing positive.

The online survey was conducted April 21-25 with a representative sample of 1,018 Canadians from the Angus Reid Forum. The poll is considered accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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Sara H. Byrd