Information for health care workers about when to seek testing for COVID-19, where to go and what to do next
The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) advises that you do not need to get a test if you are fully vaccinated, have mild symptoms and are able to self-isolate.
Rapid antigen test kits are widely available and free at participating pharmacies. Anyone can ask for a kit without having to show identification. Visitors to pharmacies can also pick up a kit for someone else. Pharmacies will hand out kits one at a time. Please visit the BC Pharmacy Association website for a list of participating pharmacies.
Your primary care provider can order a PCR test for eligible patients when using a rapid antigen test is not appropriate or recommended.
What do I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms while at home?
- If you have mild symptoms, are fully vaccinated and are able to self-isolate, you do not need to get a test.
- If you have severe symptoms, you should not come to work and speak to your primary care provider. If you do not have access to a primary care provider, you can contact 811 or Fraser Health Virtual Care (1-888-268-4319). Test yourself using a rapid antigen test, which are available free at local pharmacies.
What do I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms while at work?
If you are staff or medical staff at an acute or Fraser Health owned and operated long-term care facility experiencing mild or moderate symptoms (e.g. runny nose, scratchy throat, headache, etc) you can receive an on-site rapid antigen test, provided you meet the following criteria:
- You are scheduled to work on site that day or are already working on site and develop symptoms during your shift.
- You have mild symptoms (do not come to work with severe symptoms) that could be COVID-19 and are still able to work.
- Your role is essential to acute and/or Fraser Health owned and operated long-term care facilities and you are unable to perform your work from home or in isolation.
All other staff and medical staff should follow the guidance of the BCCDC.
- If you have mild symptoms, are fully vaccinated, and are able to self-isolate, you do not need to get a test.
- If you have more severe symptoms (not able to work), you should not come to work and test yourself using a rapid antigen test, which are available free at local pharmacies.
What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
- Resources and information on what to do if you test positive for COVID-19, are available on the BCCDC website: If You Have COVID-19.
- COVID-19 treatments like Paxlovid or Remdesivir may be beneficial if you have mild or moderate symptoms that started in the past five days and a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen or PCR test result.
- To find out if you would benefit from treatment, please complete the online assessment or call 1-888-COVID-19 (268-4319) to confirm eligibility and then speak to your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, or cannot get an appointment within three days, you can call 811, Service BC (1-800 663-7867) or Fraser Health Virtual Care (1-888-268-4319).
- If you are experiencing any of the following, please call 9-1-1 or go directly to your nearest emergency department.
- Severe difficulty breathing (e.g. struggling to breathe or speaking in single words)
- Severe chest pain
- Having a very hard time waking up
- Feeling confused
- Losing consciousness
When can I return to work?
If you have mild symptoms, a negative rapid antigen test result, and are able to work, you can continue working with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and maintaining physical distancing during breaks, etc.
If you have a positive COVID-19 test result, you can return to work when:
- at least five days have passed since your symptoms started;
- your fever has resolved for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen; and
- symptoms have improved.
- If you share a household or are a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you remain asymptomatic, you can continue to work while self-monitoring.
For more information please visit our COVID-19 vaccines, testing and prevention page.