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 exacerbation of 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. - 4:30.p.m.

    You will now 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. – 4:30 p.m.)

    NOTE: The texting option is no longer in use. Please call the above number to access the callback waitlist.

    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

    Campbell River & District General Hospital                       

    375 2nd Avenue

    9am - 4:30pm - Mon-Sun
    Cormorant Island Cormorant Island Health Centre
    49 School Road
    10 - 11:30am - Tuesday and Thursdays
    Courtenay/Comox Comox Valley Hospital
    101 Lerwick Rd.

    8:50am - 3:30pm - Mon - Sat  

    Closed statutory holidays but open Sunday October 11 and Monday October 12

    Cowichan  Cowichan District Hospital
    3045 Gibbins Rd., Duncan
    8:40am - 4:10pm - Mon - Sun 
    Ditidaht First Nations Community  Ditidaht Health Centre 11am - 2pm - Mon - Fri
    Gold River  Gold River Health Centre
    601 Trumpeter Drive
    9am - 4:30pm - Mon-Sun
    Hupacasath Community Hupcasath House of Gathering 11am - 2pm - Mon - Fri
    Huu ay aht First Nations Community Soaring Eagle Building 11am - 2pm - Mon - Fri
    Nanaimo Nanaimo Health Unit
    1665 Grant Ave, Nanaimo
    9am - 12pm AND 1 - 3:40pm - Mon- Fri 
    9am - 4pm - Saturdays/ Statutory Holidays 
    Pacific West Coast Tofino General Hospital 
    261 Neill Street
    9am - 2pm - Mon - Sun 
    Parksville Oceanside Health Centre
    489 Alberni Highway
    12:10 - 3:50pm - Mon, Wed, Fri 
    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.
    8am - 4pm - Mon – Sun
    Saltspring Island  Lady Minto Hospital
    135 Crofton Rd.
    9am - 4pm - Mon- Sun 
    Sointula  Sointula Health Centre
    25 2nd Street 
    As needed Tuesday and Thursday
    Tseshaht First Nations Community Maht Mahs Gym 11am - 2pm - Mon - Fri
    Victoria – 1 Victoria Health Unit
    1947 Cook Street
    9am - 4pm - Mon- Sun  
    Victoria – 2 University of Victoria
    Lot 10 – off Gordon Head Road via West Campus Way
    9am - 4pm - Mon- Sun  
    WCGH West Coast General Hospital
    3949 Port Alberni Hwy
    12:30 - 3:30pm - Mon - Fri
    9:30am - 12pm - Saturday
    Westshore  Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre 
    1767 Island Hwy
    9am - 4pm - 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.

    Gargle testing for school-aged children and youth

    School-aged children (ages 4-19) with COVID-19 symptoms are now being tested using a gargle test.  This effective new 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 your child needs a COVID-19 test. Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, flu or COVID-19-like symptoms. If a test is recommended, call 1-844-901-8442 to book an appointment (daily 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). 

    Gargle test what to expect

    • Watch a video about what to expect during the test
    • 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, your child should not eat, drink (including water), chew gum, vape or smoke.
    • Please ensure you and your child wear a mask when attending the test collection site.
    • Please go directly home after the test. Your child must self-isolate, stay home from school and not see visitors. Family members should follow the guidance for caregivers.

    Gargle test instructions for youth
    Gargle test instructions for child and caregiver

    For more information, see the COVID-19 Testing for Children and Youth web page from the BCCDC.

    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. - 6 p.m., Saturdays and Statutory Holidays 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

    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: October 23, 2020 at 4:25 p.m.

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