Content Map Terms

Testing

COVID-19 testing is not recommended for adults and children who don't have symptoms of COVID-19. A COVID-19 test is only recommended when its result will help inform decisions about your treatment or care. For more information who needs testing, see: BC Centre for Disease Control: Testing for COVID-19.

Some symptoms could be signs of other conditions or medical issues and you may need to seek medical care, even if it's not related to COVID-19. If you feel unwell and are unsure about your symptoms, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.

Testing may also be recommended by medical health officers in high-risk settings or as part of a public health investigation.

Testing for Children and Youth

If your child has COVID-19 symptoms, check if they need testing. If your infant is less than 3 months of age and has a fever, or shows signs of illness, they should be seen by a health care provider. For more information, visit BC Centre for Disease Control: COVID-19 illness in children.

Rapid Antigen Tests

Use a rapid antigen test at home to find out if you have COVID-19. The results will be ready in less than 20 minutes.

Rapid antigen tests are available for free at many community pharmacies. You don’t have to show ID. If you can’t go to a pharmacy, a friend or family member can pick up a test kit for you. 

Rapid antigen tests are also available at some testing locations for people with symptoms.

A positive test is acceptable for getting treatment, if you are eligible.

For information on how to use a Rapid Testing kit, what the test results mean and common questions about rapid antigen tests, see BC Centre for Disease Control: Rapid Testing at Home and Government of BC: Rapid Antigen Testing kits.

Collection Centres

At a collection centre, you may get a rapid antigen test kit to take home with you or you will be asked to provide a sample that will be sent for a lab test. Most COVID-19 testing sites in B.C. can test 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.

Testing for Travel

Testing to screen for COVID-19 before traveling is not available through the B.C. provincial health-care system. An exception is made if you must travel for medical reasons (for example, unvaccinated people needing to travel for medical reasons from remote communities). If you are asymptomatic and want to take a test before you travel, you may want to visit a private pay clinic. These clinics offer testing for a fee.

For information about private pay clinics, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control: Where to get a COVID-19 test in BC, Private testing/Testing for Travel.

COVID-19 Testing for Non-MSP Individuals

If you are in B.C. and are not eligible for MSP coverage, provincially insured health-care coverage for COVID-19 treatment may be available. This health care coverage applies to medical services related to COVID-19 infection. Services unrelated to COVID-19 that are performed on non-eligible MSP patients will remain uninsured. Your health care provider will be responsible for determining your eligibility for this coverage.

For more information on MSP and its response to COVID-19, see:

Test Results

To learn more about how to get your test results and what to do once you receive your results, see:

Last updated: September 27, 2022

The information provided above has been adapted from the BCCDC: Rapid Testing at Home, BCCDC: TestingBCCDC: Test ResultsBCCDC: Understanding Test Results and Government of BC: Rapid Antigen Testing kits pages accessed September 27, 2022.