Symptoms and Testing

Book a Test Appointment

1-844-901-8442
DAILY 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

People with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms – and those who think they may have been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive and are experiencing symptoms – should do the following: 

  1. Use the self-assessment tool to see if testing is recommended
  2. If testing is recommended, call Island Health’s Call Centre at 1-844-901-8442 (8 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily) to get into the call-back queue
  3. Our call centre will call you back to book your appointment for testing

NOTE: Youth (12 years or older) will need to speak directly with the call centre to book an appointment.

While awaiting your test and results, please follow self-isolation protocols.


Symptoms

If you have 1 or more of these key symptoms, seek a COVID-19 test as soon as possible:

•    Fever or chills
•    Cough
•    Loss of sense of smell or taste
•    Difficulty breathing

If you have 2 or more of the symptoms below for more than 24 hours, and they are not related to any other pre-existing conditions, seek testing. 

•    Sore throat
•    Loss of appetite
•    Extreme fatigue or tiredness
•    Headache
•    Body aches
•    Nausea or vomiting
•    Diarrhea 

Less common symptoms of COVID-19 infection include stuffy nose, conjunctivitis (pink eye), dizziness, confusion, abdominal pain and skin rashes or discolouration of fingers and toes. 

Children often have similar but milder symptoms to adults. Read more at the BCCDC website.

I don’t have symptoms

If you don’t have any symptoms, testing is not recommended.

If you are unsure, use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool or visit BCCDCs website for more guidance. 

Island Health does not provide testing or documentation for travel purposes. Find private test location information here


Testing

Sites

Our Call Centre team will book a test at a collection site near you.

Appointments for COVID-19 testing must be pre-booked through our Call Centre. 

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

Testing Methods

Individuals (ages 4+) with COVID-19 symptoms are tested using a mouth rinse/gargle test or a nasopharyngeal swab. Both are good options and will tell you if you have COVID-19. 

Go directly home after the test; stay home and isolate from school or work, and do not see visitors until a negative result is received. 

Preparing 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.


Results

Waiting for test results

While waiting for test results, the person with symptoms needs to stay home and isolate

Make a list of people you were in close contact with in the 48 hours before you began experiencing symptoms. Include their names and contact information.  

Household members who do not have symptoms, and/or are not directly caring for a sick individual, do not need to stay home and can continue their normal activities, while maintaining proper COVID-19 safety measures.

If any close contacts develop symptoms, they should isolate and call our call centre to book a test (1-844-901-8442). 

Getting your results

Results will be available 24-48 hours after testing. Have your personal health number handy for any of these options:

  1. MyHealth is a secure website that gives access to your personal health information. To log in, create an account, or request access to someone else’s account click here
  2. Call the COVID-19 Negative Results Line at 1-833-707-2792 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily). 
  3. Sign up for results by text message.
  4. Adolescents and parents of children can call Island Health’s Lab Call Centre at 1-866-370-8355, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closed weekends and holidays).
What if I test negative for COVID-19?

After a negative COVID-19 test, there are self-isolation requirements for:  

  • Those with symptoms – Continue to isolate until your symptoms resolve. If your symptoms worsen, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.
  • Those exposed to a case of COVID-19 – Continue to self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with a case of COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started OR 14 days from when you started self-isolating, whichever is longer. If your symptoms worsen, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.
  • International travellers returning to Canada – You must continue to isolate for 14 days from the day you landed back in Canada. If you develop symptoms, you must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started OR 14 days from when you started self-isolating, whichever is longer. If your symptoms worsen, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.
  • Health care providers – Check with your employer about self-isolation following a negative test and report any symptoms. Workplaces may have different return to work policies after a negative COVID-19 test. 

News & Events

Woman who experienced allergic reaction has no regrets about COVID-19 vaccine

Woman who experienced allergic reaction has no regrets about COVID-19 vaccine

Annie Taal, a 32 year old Victoria resident is sharing how she experienced an extremely rare allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine following her first shot. Taal wishes to reassure others who might be concerned that all mechanisms were in place to deal with her allergy and she is incredibly grateful to be vaccinated.

Read more

Update to COVID-19 outbreak at Tofino General Hospital

Update to COVID-19 outbreak at Tofino General Hospital

Island Health’s outbreak response has identified one additional patient case related to the COVID-19 outbreak declared at Tofino General Hospital (TGH) on October 12.

Read more

COVID-19 outbreak at Tofino General Hospital

COVID-19 outbreak at Tofino General Hospital

Island Health has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at Tofino General Hospital after evidence of transmission on the inpatient unit.

Read more