We are soon transitioning to new testing guidance. Until we receive official direction, please follow the testing guidance below:

Consider testing for novel coronavirus for:

  • Patients with compatible symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) AND
  • Travel to affected areas within 14 days of symptoms onset OR history of exposure (e.g., close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19) 

Do not test for COVID-19 in asymptomatic patients. We have developed a patient-facing handout about this available at: About Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing

Physicians can test for COVID-19 without consulting a Medical Health Officer. To facilitate prompt testing, the BCCDC will now accept either a nasopharyngeal (NP) or throat swab for COVID-19 testing (NP swab preferred).

How to test:

  • Obtain a NP swab OR throat swab (NP swab preferred) (red top or blue top COPAN with UNIVERSAL TRANSPORT MEDIA (UTM)) and send the swab to the BCCDC Provincial Laboratory. Ensure that the requisition indicates testing for “novel coronavirus” (for testing consultation, call the BCCDC Lab Medical Microbiologist on-call at 604-661-7033)


  • Advise the patient to self-isolate and provide “Home Isolation” instructions – Home Isolation instructions are available at: Home Isolation - While waiting for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) results.
  • Inform the patient that they can call the BCCDC Coronavirus Hotline (1-833-707-2792) for testing results
  • If swabs results are positive, Public Health will provide follow-up.

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