Find out how and when to get a COVID-19 test.

Updated November 17, 2022

A COVID-19 test is recommended when a positive or negative result will inform decisions about treatment or care. Read more about when to get tested on the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)'s webpage.

Learn if you qualify for testing and how to book a COVID-19 test.

  • How do I get a COVID-19 test?

    Rapid antigen tests 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 through normal diagnostic procedures when using a rapid antigen test is not appropriate or recommended. If you do not have a primary care provider, you can call Fraser Health Virtual Care (1-800-314-0999).

  • I have a lab requisition for a PCR test. What do I do now?

    Take your lab requisition to access services such as Life Labs or Fraser Health Outpatient Labs. Bring the completed sample back to the lab. Please have an asymptomatic individual pick up and drop off the sample kit, wherever possible.

    Your primary care provider will tell you the result of your test.

  • What do I need to know about testing for children?

    Children five years of age and older may receive a saline gargle test, nasal pharyngeal swab or a rapid test kit. Children younger than the age of five will not receive a saline (salt water) gargle test.

    Visit COVID-19 Testing for Children & Youth to learn more about how children are tested and what you can do to prepare for a test.

     

    How to use the swish gargle COVID-19 test

    Download printable PDF

  • What do I do if I have mild symptoms and testing is not recommended?

    If you have symptoms of COVID-19:

    • Stay home and away from others until your fever is gone (without the use of medicines that reduce fever, like Tylenol) and you feel well enough to participate in daily activities.
    • Avoid close contact with others, especially people at higher risk of severe illness or complications from COVID-19.
    • If you cannot avoid close contact with others, take other prevention measures such as wearing a mask in indoor spaces and cleaning your hands regularly. 

    Mild symptoms are symptoms that can be managed at home. Children have similar but milder symptoms to adults. Learn about how to manage your symptoms.

    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.

    If you are unsure whether to seek medical care or get tested, contact your family physician, health care provider, 8-1-1, chat or call the Fraser Health Virtual Care team at 1-800-314-0999 between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. seven days a week.

  • What if I don't have any symptoms?

    Testing is not recommended in asymptomatic individuals outside of public health investigations and other specific circumstances.

    We don’t offer COVID-19 testing for the purposes of travelling, school or employment. There are some private pay clinics that offer testing for a fee to people who require asymptomatic testing for reasons that fall outside of B.C. public health recommendations, as outlined in the testing guidelines, such as for travel or employment. For more information, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

  • How do I get my test results?

    Learn more about what to do after a COVID-19 test.

    If you are eligible for a COVID-19 PCR test, you can access the results of your test in three ways: by text, online or by phone. Learn more about each option on the BCCDC's webpage here.

    If you have a Personal Health Number (PHN), you can use text message, online services or phone services to access your COVID-19 result.

    If you do not have a PHN, you can access your results by phone.

    Rapid antigen test results (ex. rapid test, at-home kit) are NOT available at Health Gateway.

    Private PCR COVID-19 test results (tests that are paid for privately for work/travel) are available from the test provider directly. Follow their instructions to access a copy of your test results.

    For support with understanding your test results, visit the BCCDC's webpage.

  • What do I do if I have tested positive?

    If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, learn what to do next. For support with understanding your test results, visit the BCCDC's webpage.

  • What do I do if I have tested negative?

    A negative test result means that you likely did not have COVID-19 on the day you had the test. You may stop self-isolating once you feel well enough to return to regular activities unless:

    • You have been instructed to self-isolate by public health.
    • You travelled outside of Canada. To find out if you need to self-isolate after travelling, visit the Government of Canada’s website. Follow the instructions provided by the Government of Canada on how to self-isolate and quarantine.

    For support with understanding your test results, visit the BCCDC's webpage.

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

Participate in COVID-19 Research

There are a number of COVID-19 research projects on understanding vaccine effectiveness and safety, treatment of COVID-19, impact on mental health, and more. Find out what research opportunities are available and how to get involved on REACH BC. Everyone can help fight COVID-19.