Testing can be used to determine if someone currently has COVID-19 or if they had COVID-19 in the past.
B.C. is currently using viral testing, a Nucleic acid Amplification Test (NAT), to diagnose people with COVID-19. Samples are collected using a nasopharyngeal swab or salt water (saline) gargle.
Point-of-care (POC) COVID-19 testing can be used to assist with the diagnosis of symptomatic individuals within rural, remote and Indigenous communities in B.C. where laboratory-based diagnostic testing is not readily available. POC screening can be used in individuals without symptoms in communities settings, setting where rapid results are needed to guide immediate public health action, and for screening in settings with increased risk of transmission and/or outbreaks.
B.C. uses antibody testing or serology in limited settings to determine if a person had the infection in the past and is producing antibodies. COVID-19 antibody testing is not available in B.C. for routine clinical use at this time nor is it recommended for clinical diagnostic purposes in outpatient populations.
For testing guidance, procedures, and other information for health care professionals and their patients, see
Information about the roll out of viral testing and changes to B.C.’s testing strategy over time is described on the
Phases of COVID-19 testing in B.C. page.
B.C. testing data is available on the B.C. COVID-19 dashboard: