Symptoms and Testing

Information for anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.


The symptoms most commonly found with COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough or worsening chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches

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

    For key symptoms of illness in children, see the BCCDC guidance for K-12 school settings.


    If an individual has no symptoms, they do not require a test. Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones.  If you do not have symptoms, but have questions about COVID-19 visit the BCCDC website

    Complete a self-assessment

    Anyone who is concerned that they may have been exposed to, or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should first use the online self-assessment tool:

    The self-assessment tool is also available as part of the COVID-19 BC Support App, which provides regular updates, trusted resources and alerts to your mobile device. 

    Book a test appointment

    The Island Health COVID-19 Testing Call Centre is available for individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 

    Call Centre Hours of Operation: Monday - Sunday, 8:30 a.m. - 8:00.p.m.

    You will be asked to leave a callback number rather than wait on-hold.  Calls will be processed in priority order during business hours but you may receive a call back after Call Centre hours, as we work to keep up with demand. Please ensure you provide a phone number that you can be reached at after our hours of operation. You will need your personal health number (or your child's) available when Call Centre staff return your call.

    1-844-901-8442 (8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.)

    Locations of test collection sites

    Our Call Centre team will confirm your need for a test and book a test at a collection site near you

    Community  Location  Hours of operation
    Bamfield Bamfield Health Centre
    353 Bamfield Road
    Tuesday and Thursday mornings as needed  
    Campbell River

    1358 Marwalk Street, Campbell River

    9:00am - 3:50pm - Mon-Sun
    Cormorant Island Cormorant Island Health Centre
    49 School Road
    10:00am - 11:30am - Tuesday and Thursdays

    ICBC Claim Centre 505 Crown Isle Blvd.

    9:00am - 4:00pm - Mon - Sun  


    ICBC Claim Centre 5151 Polkey Rd.

    8:40am - 3:50pm - Mon - Sun 

    Ditidaht First Nations Community  Ditidaht Health Centre 11:00am - 2:00pm - Mon - Fri
    Gold River  Gold River Health Centre
    601 Trumpeter Drive
    9:00am - 4:30pm - Mon - Sun
    Hupacasath Community Hupcasath House of Gathering 11:00am - 2:00pm - Mon - Fri
    Huu ay aht First Nations Community Soaring Eagle Building 11:00am - 2pm - Mon - Fri
    Nanaimo VIU Campus, 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo
    Exit 5A off Fifth Street - next to the Navy League Bldgs
    9:00am - 4:00pm Mon -Sun
    Oceanside Qualicum Beach Civic Center
    747 Jones St, Qualicum Beach
    10:00am - 3:45pm Mon - Sun
    Pacific West Coast Tofino General Hospital 
    261 Neill Street
    9:00am - 2:00pm - Mon - Sun 
    Port Alice Port Alice Health Centre
    1090 Marine Drive
    As needed 
    Port Hardy Port Hardy Hospital
    9120 Granville Street
    8:30am - 4:30pm - Mon - Sun 
    Port McNeill  Port McNeill Hospital
    750 Kingcome Place
    1 - 2:40pm - Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri
    Saanichton/Sidney  Peninsula Health Unit
    2170 Mt. Newton X Rd.
    8:00am - 4:00pm - Mon – Sun
    Saltspring Island  Lady Minto Hospital
    135 Crofton Rd.
    9:00am - 4:00pm - Mon- Sun 
    Sointula  Sointula Health Centre
    25 2nd Street 
    As needed Tuesday and Thursday
    Tseshaht First Nations Community Maht Mahs Gym 11:00am - 2:00pm - Mon - Fri
    Victoria – 1 ICBC Claim Centre (please follow signage)
    425 Dunedin Street
    9:00am - 4:00pm - Mon- Sun  
    Victoria – 2 University of Victoria
    Lot 10 – off Gordon Head Road via West Campus Way
    9:00am - 4:00pm - Mon- Sun  
    Port Alberni Glenwood Sports Centre Lot
    4480 Vimy Street, Port Alberni
    9:45am - 2:40pm - Mon - Sun



    Juan de Fuca Senior Citizens Association 
    1767 Island Hwy
    8:20am - 3:30pm - Mon- Sun 

    Appointments for COVID-19 testing must be pre-booked through our Call Centre. We are not providing tests for walk-up or drive-in clients without an appointment. 

    To cancel your appointment, call the Testing Call Centre (1-844-901-8442) during business hours and press option ‘4’ when prompted.

    Mouth Rinse / Gargle Testing

    Individuals (ages 4+) with COVID-19 symptoms can be tested using a gargle test or a nasopharyngeal swab. Both are good options and will tell you if you have COVID-19. The gargle test method involves swishing and gargling sterile salt water and spitting it into a collection tube. Before calling to book an appointment, please use the self-assessment tool at to determine if you or your child needs a COVID-19 test. If a test is recommended, call 1-844-901-8442 to book an appointment (daily 8:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.). 

    What to expect and how to prepare

    Individuals wanting the option of having a saline gargle test need to review the instructions before coming in for testing, as there is some preparation required.

    Waiting for test results for families and patients

    While waiting for test results, the person with symptoms needs to stay home and isolate from other household members (other than a direct caregiver if required). 

    Household members who do not have symptoms, and/or are not directly caring for a sick child, do not need to stay home and can continue their normal activities, while maintaining a physical distance of 2-metres from others, wearing a mask where appropriate and washing hands frequently.

    If any close contacts develop symptoms, please stay home and call 8-1-1 or visit for information. 

    Start making a list of people you were in close contact with, as of two (2) days (48 hrs.) before you began experiencing symptoms. Include their names and contact information.  

    Getting your results

    Have your personal health number handy for any of these options:

    1. Access test results, 24-48 hours after testing, through MyHealth, a secure website that gives access to your personal health information. To log in, create an account, or request access to someone else’s MyHealth account visit
    2. Sign up for results by text message.
    3. Call BC’s COVID-19 Negative Results Line 24-48 hours after testing at 1-833-707-2792, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., 7-days a week. 
    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 statutory holidays.

    What if I test negative for COVID-19?

    After a negative COVID-19 test, there are self-isolation requirements. See our Isolation Protocols for details specific to your situation.  

    Reviewed: DAILY
    Last update: January 11, 2021 at 10:50 a.m.

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