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COVID-19 testing


We are learning that some symptoms, like fever or chills, cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, and trouble breathing are more likely to be COVID-19. New guidance for when to get a COVID-19 test reflects this new evidence.

What you need to know

  • Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.

  • To prepare children for testing and FAQ's, visit the COVID-19 assessment and testing of children page.

  • If you feel unwell and are unsure about your symptoms, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1. 

  • A COVID-19 test is recommended if:

    • you had a contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and have any one of the symptoms below.

    • you are experiencing symptoms as described below.

Symptoms that require testing

For people who do not know if they had a contact with someone with COVID-19, you need a COVID-19 test if you have new or worsening symptoms.

If you have 1 or more of these key symptoms, seek testing as soon as possible:

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Loss of sense of smell or taste

  • Difficulty breathing

If you have 2 or more of the symptoms below for more than 24 hours, and they are not related to any other pre-existing conditions, seek testing. 

These symptoms are:

  • Sore throat

  • Loss of appetite

  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness

  • Headache

  • Body aches

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea 

If you have only one of these symptoms, or a symptom that is not on this list and you are able to manage the symptoms at home, stay home until you feel better. If you have any questions, or the symptoms don’t go away contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.

You should continue to seek care for other medical conditions as needed, even if it’s not related to COVID-19. 

Children have similar but milder symptoms to adults.

Should I get tested if I don’t have symptoms?

If you don’t have any symptoms, testing is not recommended even if you are a contact. 

In B.C., testing is generally not available through the provincial health care system for people without symptoms including routine screening for employment, travel, school, before surgery or for other health procedures. 

If you are unsure, use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Learn more:

Where to get a COVID-19 test

You can get a COVID-19 test from a physician, nurse practitioner, urgent and primary care centre or at a COVID-19 test collection centre. You can call 8-1-1 to find testing near you. Please visit an emergency department if you are experiencing health conditions that require urgent and emergency care.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) test collection centres and urgent and primary care centres (UPCC) that offer testing and assessment are listed below. 

  • Be prepared to wait in line. Test collection centres may have faster wait times. To find the wait times for some of our sites, please visit our wait-times website.

  • Be prepared for inclement weather. Many of our test collection centres are located outdoors.

VCH test collection centres: Urban

Three Bridges Test Collection Centre

Address: 1128 Hornby St., Vancouver, B.C. (map)

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Weekends, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note, Three Bridges Test Collection Centre will be closed on Thursday, February 25, 2021. Regular business hours will resume on Friday, February 26, 2021.

Walk/drive-up: Walk-in option only

Appointment: Drop-in only

Ages: 4+

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

Downtown Eastside COVID Test Collection Centre

Address: 429 Alexander St., Vancouver, B.C. (map)

Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Walk/drive-up: Walk-up only

Appointment: Drop-in only

Ages: 12+

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

Vancouver Community College, north parking lot #865

Address: 1155 E. Broadway, Vancouver, B.C., enter parking lot on 7th Avenue between Keith and Glen Drive. (map)

Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Walk/drive-up: Walk-in and/or drive-up

Appointment: Drop-in only

Ages: 4+

Note: There is no access to the site through the Vancouver Community College.

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

Honoria Conway at St. Vincent’s, adjacent gravel lot

Address: Advanced Parking Lot #9075, the 700 block of West 33rd Avenue, entrance off West 33rd Avenue by Heather Street, Vancouver, B.C. (map)

Hours: Open daily, 8:00 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive-up: Both. Please do not enter Honoria Conway.

Appointment: Drop-in only

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

REACH Urgent Primary Care Centre (UPCC)

Address: 1145 Commercial Dr., Vancouver, B.C. (map)

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ages: All ages

Walk/drive-up: Walk-up only

Appointment: Book an appointment by calling 604-216-3138 and leaving a message with the required details as per the phone instructions. You will receive a call back to book your appointment time.

Test type: Nasopharyngeal only

City Centre Urgent Primary Care Centre (UPCC)

Address: 1290 Hornby St., Vancouver, B.C. (map)

Hours: Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ages: 12+.

Walk/drive-up: Walk-up only

Appointment: Drop-in only

Test types: Nasopharyngeal only

North Vancouver Test Collection Centre (ICBC Capilano Claims Centre)

Address: 255 Lloyd Ave., North Vancouver, B.C. (map)

Hours: Open daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive-up: Both

Appointment: Drop-in only

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

North Vancouver Urgent & Primary Care Centre (UPCC)

Address: 221 W. Esplanade, Suite 200, North Vancouver, B.C. (map)

Hours: Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ages: All ages

Walk/drive-up: Walk-up only

Appointment: Drop-in only

Test types: Nasopharyngeal only

Richmond Test Collection Centre (jetSET parking lot)

Address: 5911 North Service Road, Richmond, B.C. (intersection of Aviation Ave. and North Service Rd.) [map]

Hours: Open daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive-up: Drive-through services only.

Appointment: Drop-in only

Note: Testing for travel not available at this location

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

Richmond Test Collection Centre (Richmond Hospital)

Address: 7000 Westminster Highway - beside parkade

Hours: Monday to Thursday 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday to Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive-up: Walk-through only, access from outside beside the parkade

Appointment: Drop-in only

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

VCH test collection centres: Rural

For rural locations not listed below, please call your family doctor for guidance on testing locations or visit your nearest hospital

Squamish General Hospital

Address: 38140 Behrner Dr. Squamish, B.C. (map). Emergency Department.

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours a day.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive-up: Walk-up only

Appointment: Drop-in only

Test types: Nasopharyngeal only

Squamish Assessment Centre

Address: 40456 Government Rd., Squamish, B.C. (map)

Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive-up: Drive-up only

Appointment: Drop-in only

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

Pemberton Health Centre

Address: 1403 Portage Rd., Pemberton, B.C. (map)

Hours: Monday to Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Ages: 4+

Appointment: Drop-in. Please call 604-894-6633 upon arrival or for more information.

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

Whistler Health Care Centre

Address: 4380 Lorimer Rd., Whistler, B.C. (map)

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Ages: 4+ 

Walk/drive-up: Walk-up only

Appointment: Pre-screening appointment required. Call 604-966-1428 to book.

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

Sechelt Assessment Centre

Address: Address is available after phoning in

Hours: Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive up: They will tell you after you phone

Appointment: By appointment only. Please call 604-740-1252 (phone or text) or email coastrespclinic@gmail.com to book.

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

Powell River General Hospital

Address: 5000 Joyce Ave., Powell River, B.C. (map). Emergency Department.

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours a day.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive-up: Walk

Appointment: Drop-in only

Test types: Nasopharyngeal ony

Powell River Test Collection Centre at the Recreation Complex

Address: 5001 Joyce Ave., Powell River, B.C. (map)

Hours: Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive-up: Drive-up only

Appointment: By appointment only. Please call 604-485-2028 or visit https://prcomplexclinic.com/ to book.

Test types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

R.W. Large Hospital

Address: 88 Waglisla St., Bella Bella, B.C. (map). Emergency Department.

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours a day.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive-up: Walk-up only

Appointment: Drop-in only

Test Types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

Bella Coola General Hospital

Address: 1025 Elcho St., Bella Coola, B.C. (map). Emergency Department.

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours a day.

Ages: 4+

Walk/drive-up: Walk-up only

Appointment: Drop-in only

Test Types: Nasopharyngeal and saline gargle (for children and adults). For saline test, do not eat, drink, vape, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum at least 1 hour before the test. For more information, see the instructions for children and/or the instructions for adults.

BC COVID-19 collection centres website

A full list of assessment and test collection centres in the province can be found by clicking on the image or links below.

Frequently asked questions

For answers to frequently asked questions, click "+" on the questions below.

Anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-like symptoms can now be assessed. Individuals in the following groups should be prioritized for testing:

  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities

  • Individuals requiring admission to hospital or likely to be admitted, such as pregnant individuals near-term, patients on hemodialysis, or cancer patients receiving radiation or chemotherapy.

  • Health-care workers

  • Contacts of a known case of COVID-19

  • Travellers who in the past 14 days returned to BC from outside Canada, or from an area with higher infection rates within Canada

  • Residents of remote, isolated, or Indigenous communities

  • People living in congregate settings such as work-camps, correctional facilities, shelters, group homes, assisted living and seniors' residences

  • People who are homeless or have unstable housing

  • Essential service providers, such as first responders

If you need help determining if you need further assessment or testing, visit the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool or speak with your health-care provider. To find out where you can get tested in the province, visit the collection centre finder:

COVID-19 testing is not recommended for individuals without symptoms.‎

 

Visit our COVID-19 assessment and testing of children page to learn more about how children are tested and what you can do to prepare for a test. 

 

If your health-care provider has decided it is safe for you to go home after your COVID-19 test, please follow the latest guidelines from the BCCDC. ‎

 

If you were tested for COVID-19, you will be sent home to self-isolate until the results are provided to you. Visit the self-isolate page for details.

  • If your result is positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by Public Health.

  • Get your negative results online, by text, or by phone through one of the services below.

Access COVID-19 test results online

Health Gateway

Your COVID-19 test results are available through a new online portal called Health Gateway.

Through Health Gateway, you can get a text or email notification as soon as your results are available, day or night. You can also download and print a copy of your test results.

Health Gateway is accessible by anyone with a photo BC Services Card (Driver's License CareCard). To register, you will need your mobile BC Services Card. If you haven't used it before, get set up from your mobile device as soon as you have booked your test, so there is no delay in getting your results.

You must be 19 years of age or older to register for an account.

MyCareCompass (formally my ehealth)

Outpatient COVID-19 test results from most areas of the province are available via my my ehealth, a fast and secure method to receive your test results if you are aged 16 or older.

Patients need to provide a Personal Health Number (PHN) at the clinic or collection centre where their test is being done for results to be accessed via MyCareCompass.

MyCareCompass may not be available at all locations on Vancouver Island and in the Interior Health region. You must be 16 years of age or older to register for an account.

Get results by text message from the BCCDC

Go to the BCCDC website to sign up for text results. Parents can also use this service for their children. You will receive your negative test result as soon as it is available, day or night.

By registering for this service once, you will receive your negative result by text any time that you test for COVID-19 in the future.  However, if you registered to receive a text message prior to October 15, 2020, you will need to register again to receive future COVID-19 results by text message.

Personal information you provide will only be used to verify and share test results with you. For more information about this service, please contact the BCCDC Negative Results Hotline at 1-833-707-2792.

Get results by phone

The BCCDC COVID-19 Negative Results line (1-833-707-2792) is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.

If you are sick but test negative for COVID-19, stay home until your symptoms resolve and you are well enough to return to your usual activities.

Even if you have tested negative, there may be situations where you still have to self-isolate for 14 days:

  • Those exposed to a case of COVID-19 must self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with a case of COVID-19 even if you test negative.

  • International travellers returning to Canada must continue self-isolate for 14 days from the day you landed back in Canada even if you test negative.

  • Health care providers check with your employer about self-isolation following a negative test and report any symptoms. Workplaces may have different return to work policies after a negative COVID-19 test.

If you develop new symptoms following a negative test, seek advice from your physician.  You may need to get tested again.

Guidelines for COVID-19 testing in BC are based on changing epidemiology, testing capacity, and our evolving understanding of test sensitivity in clinical settings.

COVID-19 testing of people without symptoms is not publicly funded for the purpose of travel, work or school and will not be provided at COVID-19 Assessment Centres. Testing is not recommended for individuals without symptoms.

Visit our assessment for travel page for more information. 

Other questions?

Visit our FAQ section

SOURCE: COVID-19 testing ( )
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