Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-like symptoms, even mild symptoms. Testing is not required if you do not have symptoms. You no longer need a referral from a health care provider and you do not need to call 8-1-1 if you have symptoms and would like to be tested for COVID-19.
Anyone with symptoms, even mild symptoms, can get tested for COVID-19. While anyone can get tested, some symptoms could be signs of other conditions or medical issues and you may need to seek medical care. If you are unsure if you need medical care or to get tested, contact your health care provider, call 8-1-1 or use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool. You can be tested by a physician, nurse practitioner or get tested at a local collection centre.
Visit the BC Centre for Disease Control page for more information about testing for COVID-19.
Testing for Children and Youth
B.C. is rolling out a new COVID-19 testing option for school-age students in kindergarten to grade 12. This new method involves swishing and gargling sterile water and spitting it into a collection tube, making it easier for children and youth to be tested. It will replace the swab test for most students and will determine whether they have COVID-19.
There are some key points to keep in mind when taking your child for this particular test:
- Check your child daily for key symptoms of illness before sending them to school. An example of a daily health check can be found in Appendix C of the Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools. Your child should be assessed if they have
- A fever
- Two or more symptoms from the list in Appendix C
- One symptom that persists for more than 24 hours
- Watch a video about what you and your child can expect during a COVID-19 test:
- Practice the swish, gargle and spit technique with water at home. Make sure to practice no less than two hours before the test as this may affect the test results. Ask your child not to swallow the water or talk when they practice.
- Find a collection centre where children can be tested or contact your health care provider about testing.
- Your child will need to self-isolate after their test. This means you should go directly home after their test. Your child should stay home from school and not see visitors. Learn more about self-isolating after a test.
For information about the process and what to expect and how to access and understand test results see COVID-19 Testing for Children and Youth.
Learn more about testing and find collection centres where you can be tested. Click the map or visit the links below. You can also call 8-1-1 to find the nearest centre.
It is particularly important to test symptomatic individuals who are at higher risk. These individuals will continue to be prioritized and includes health-care workers, essential services providers and individuals who are vulnerable to complications due to COVID-19.
Last updated: September 17, 2020
The information provided above has been adapted from the BCCDC: Testing page accessed September 17, 2020.