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Testing information

B.C. has expanded testing to find new cases and prevent spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Should I get tested?

Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough or worsening of chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat 
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Muscle aches
While less common, symptoms can also include:
  • Stuffy nose
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Dizziness, confusion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Skin rashes or discoloration of fingers or toes.
Children have similar symptoms to adults, but are less likely to have fever, shortness of breath or cough. COVID-19 causes mild illness in the majority of cases in children.

While anyone can get tested, some symptoms can also be signs of other conditions or medical issues and you may need to seek medical care. If you are unsure whether to seek medical care or get tested, contact your health care provider, call 8-1-1 or use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool

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

If an individual has no symptoms, they do not require a test. 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. This advice may be different from other provinces or countries. In select situations, such as investigation into an outbreak, people without symptoms may be tested under the direction of a medical health officer or clinician.

If you are unsure whether you need testing, you can use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else.

Learn more:

Find a collection centre to be assessed and get tested 

Click on the image or links below for a list of collection centres in the province to find one near you. You can also call 8-1-1 to find the nearest centre. Most COVID-19 testing sites in B.C. can test children and youth.

If you have had a COVID-19 test, please refer to the How to self-isolate after a COVID-19 test handout. 

Private testing/ Travel testing

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 such as for travel or employment.

Please contact these clinics directly to learn more and to arrange for this testing.

Self-isolate if you have symptoms

If you develop symptoms, you will need to self-isolate while you wait for your test results so you do not potentially spread illness to others. Those who get diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when their symptoms started. For more information on what to do if you have COVID-19, if you think you may have it, or believe you may require medical care, visit our If you are Sick page.

How your test is processed


What if I test negative for COVID-19?

After a negative COVID-19 test, you may still need to self-isolate. If you are unsure, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1. Continue to monitor how you feel; if your symptoms worsen, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.

Continue to self-isolate if:

  • you are a contact or have been exposed to a case of COVID-19.  Continue to self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with a case of COVID-19. 
  • you have arrived in B.C. from outside of Canada. You must continue to isolate for 14 days from the day you landed back in Canada. 
Health care providers should check with their employer about self- isolation following a negative test and report any symptoms. Some information for health care workers returning to work after an exposure is available on the website but workplaces may have different return to work policies.

What if I have COVID-19?

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, public health will get in touch and give you instructions on how to self-isolate. You will be required to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from when your symptoms started. For more information, visit our If you are Sick page.

You can also help by telling public health about the people you’ve spent time with. This process is called contact tracing and it is an important tool to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading in communities. Learn more on our Contact tracing page.

SOURCE: Testing information ( )
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