This page gives you the information required to navigate our testing services and explains what to do if you are exposed to COVID-19 or test positive.
- I may have been exposed
What to do if you have been in contact with a person with COVID-19
If you have been in contact with a person who has COVID-19, including up to two days before the person started to have symptoms or went for a COVID-19 test, you may be a close contact and may need to self-isolate.
For the latest information for close contacts and people who may may been exposed to COVID-19, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1. This service is available in multiple languages.
- Should I get a COVID test?
If you have mild symptoms and no risk factors for severe illness, you don't need a COVID test.
A COVID-19 test may be recommended if:
• You had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and have developed new symptoms.
• You are experiencing new or worsening symptoms that require testing.
• Use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
• You can also review the list of symptoms here
• Children have similar but milder symptoms to adults.
• If you don’t have any symptoms, testing is not recommended even if you are a contact.
• You should continue to seek care for other medical conditions as needed, even if it's not related to COVID-19.
- How do I book a testing appointment?
Appointments for COVID-19 testing must be pre-booked through our Call Centre. If testing is recommended please call: 1-844-901-8442 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.
Our Call Centre team will return your call to book a test at a collection site near you. Please keep your phone nearby while you are waiting for the call.
We do not provide tests for walk-up/drive-in clients without an appointment.
To cancel your appointment, call our Testing Call Centre (1-844-901-8442) during business hours and press option ‘4’ when prompted.
Everyone, including children, must wear a mask when attending the test collection site.
Island Health does not provide testing or documentation for travel purposes. Find private test location information here.
While awaiting your test and results, please follow self-isolation protocols.
- How do I get a rapid antigen test?
Rapid antigen tests that can be completed at home are available for people who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing (see ‘When to get a COVID-19 test’ on the BCCDC website.). Use this online screening tool to asses your symptoms. If testing is recommended please contact the BC Services call centre: 1-844-901-8442 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. After speaking with a call centre agent you will receive a website link and code to book a time to pickup your test.
- Appointments are required to pick up a rapid test kit
- Rapid test kits are not available at Emergency Departments or other Island Health care centres
- What kind of test will I get?
Visit BCCDC to learn more about the different tests being used in BC.
- How do I administer a rapid antigen test?
- How do I prepare for a gargle test?
The gargle test method involves swishing and gargling sterile salt water and spitting it into a collection tube. Please review the instructions before coming in for testing, as there is some preparation required.
- Adults and Youth (13 and older): Read the gargle test instructions.
- Children (12 and younger): Watch a video about what to expect during the test and read gargle test instructions.
- For younger children, practice the swish, gargle and spit technique using water at home at least two hours before going to the collection centre.
- One hour prior to the gargle test, do not eat, drink (including water), chew gum, vape or smoke.
- What should I do after my test?
Anyone who has been tested will need to self-isolate after their test. This means you should go directly home after the test and stay home from work or and do not see visitors. Visit the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s self-isolation page to learn more.
- How do I get my test results?
There are a number of options available to get your test results. Please click here for more details.
- I have my test result, now what do I do?
A positive test result means that you may be infected with COVID-19. If your test results come back as COVID-19 positive, you need to self-isolate. Follow the instructions found on the BCCDC’s Understanding Test Results page.
A negative test result means that you likely did not have COVID-19 on the day you had the test. You may be able to stop self-isolating once you feel well enough to return to regular activities. Please review detailed instructions here.
- How do I notify my close contacts?
Contact tracing helps to stop the spread of COVID-19 by identifying people who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and asking them to take certain steps. Precautions are different for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. '