“For the most part, there is essentially no other respiratory virus circulating to anywhere near the degree of COVID (in Quebec),” said Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious-disease specialist and medical microbiologist at the McGill University Health Centre.

“So statistically speaking right now, if you have upper respiratory symptoms, it’s going to be COVID,” Vinh added. “Do a test to confirm it, but even if it’s negative, it doesn’t change the probability that it’s COVID.”

As cases have increased in recent weeks, many Quebecers have reported getting negative results on their at-home rapid tests despite experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, sometimes for days at a time.

In addition to public health measures being lifted, the issue has raised questions about whether confusion surrounding at-home rapid testing and self-isolation has factored into Quebec now finding itself in a sixth wave.

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