Learn what your lab (PCR) COVID-19 test results mean.
Last updated: November 17, 2022
If you are using a rapid antigen test and need information on how to interpret the results from the test device, visit:
Rapid antigen testing
A positive test result means that you may have COVID-19. If your test results come back as COVID-19 positive,
you need to:
- Stay home until you feel better and manage your symptoms
- Check to see if you may benefit from treatment
I have COVID-19
A negative test result means that you likely did not have COVID-19 on the day you had the test. Stay at home until you feel well enough to return to regular activities.
If your symptoms get worse, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.
This means the test wasn't able to detect if you have COVID-19. A test result may be indeterminate if there was not enough of sample to test or the test couldn’t be validated.
If symptoms have not improved or if a definitive test result is required (e.g. for travel or work), the test should be repeated in 24 hours. If testing is not available or possible, it can be presumed positive.
If symptoms have improved and a definitive test result is not required (e.g. for travel or work), the test can be presumed negative.
Test result return times vary across B.C., but generally take 1 to 3 days. If it has been more than 3 days since you tested and you haven’t received your result, there may have been issue with testing your sample. Please call the BCCDC COVID-19 Test Results line at 1-833-707-2792 to speak to an agent.
A test result can be cancelled if it could not be completed by the lab. This may happen for a number of reasons, such as poor sample quality, loss or spillage.
Continue to follow public health guidance like self-isolation
. Contact your health care provider, public health or call 8-1-1 to see if you need another test.
Test result return times vary across B.C., but generally take 1 to 3 days. If you have not received a test result after 72 hours, please call the COVID-19 Results line at 1-833-707-2792.
If you are First Nations citizen or family member of a First Nations person, and would like additional information and support, please phone 1-855-344-3800 to connect with the
First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week.
Please also visit the First Nations Health Authority website for further information and resources about COVID-19 testing and
what to do if you have COVID-19.
If you need support managing symptoms or advice on when to seek care, please contact your health care provider or contact HealthLink BC by calling 8-1-1. For the deaf and hard of hearing (TTY), call 7-1-1, or for Video Relay Service, visit Video Relay Services
and have them call HealthLink BC at 604-215-5101.