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When to get a COVID-19 test

Information about when to get a COVID-19 test.

Last updated: September 28, 2022


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When COVID-19 testing is recommended

A COVID-19 test is recommended when a positive or negative result will inform decisions about treatment or care.

Testing is recommended for people with symptoms of COVID-19 and who are:

Learn about COVID-19 symptoms


People who may benefit from treatment can be prescribed medications based on a positive result from a PCR or rapid antigen test.

Rapid antigen testing kits are available free for everyone. Visit your local pharmacy and ask for a testing kit.

People who may benefit from treatment

Testing is recommended for people who meet one of the following criteria and have symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Have had an organ transplant and are taking anti-rejection medications
  • Have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant
  • Are receiving treatment for cancer
  • Have been diagnosed with a primary immunodeficiency disorder
  • Have been diagnosed with HIV and are not currently taking medication for it or have advanced HIV
  • Are on dialysis and/or have severe kidney disease and receiving any immunosuppressants
  • Are on active treatment with immunosuppressive therapies
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma requiring hospitalization in the last year
  • Taking biologics for asthma, severe lung disease and at least one of the following:
    • Long-term home therapy
    • Assessment for lung transplant
    • Severe pulmonary arterial hypertension
    • Severe pulmonary fibrosis/interstitial lung disease
  • Diagnosed with a rare blood disorder or inborn error of metabolism
  • Insulin-dependent diabetes
  • Splenectomy or functional asplenia
  • Significant developmental disabilities
  • Neurological or other condition requiring use of a ventilator or continuous bi-PAP
  • On dialysis or have stage 5 chronic kidney disease (eGFR ≤ 15ml/min)
  • Aged 70 years or older and have three or more chronic condition (regardless of vaccination status).

Chronic conditions may include obesity, diabetes, heart failure, stroke and neurological conditions.

  1. Unvaccinated individuals:
    • Aged 50­ years and older, or
    • Have three or more chronic conditions that increase the risk of severe illness or hospitalization

  2. People who have not yet received a booster dose:
    • Aged 50­–69 years and have three or more chronic conditions that increase the risk of severe illness or hospitalization
    • Aged 70 years and older and have one or more chronic conditions that increase the risk of severe illness or hospitalization.

Chronic conditions may include obesity, diabetes, heart failure, stroke and neurological conditions.

 

You self-identify as Indigenous and are any of:

  • 70+ years old
  • 50+ years old and haven't had 3 doses of vaccine
  • Unvaccinated (any age)

Proof of ancestry is not required.

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What to do if testing is not recommended

Stay home and away from others until you feel well enough to return to your regular activities and you do not have a fever. 

You can get a rapid antigen test if you like. Rapid antigen testing kits are available free for everyone. Visit your local pharmacy and ask for a testing kit.
Rapid antigen testing at home

If you find it hard to breathe, have chest pain, can’t drink anything, feel very sick, and/or feel confused, contact your health care provider right away or go to your local emergency department or call 9-1-1.

If you have concerns about your health, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.

Learn how to manage your symptoms

You should continue to seek medical care if you feel you need it.

Use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment

If you are unsure about your symptoms or whether you should get a COVID-19 test

More testing information

SOURCE: When to get a COVID-19 test ( )
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