COVID-19 testing expanded to include anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
Illustration of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2, the cause of COVID-19 (Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAMS)
British Columbia is expanding its COVID-19 testing strategy.
It now includes anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild.
While testing has expanded, not everyone needs a test.
COVID-19 testing is not recommended for people without symptoms.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold. They include:
- shortness of breath,
- sore throat,
- painful swallowing,
- stuffy or runny nose,
- loss of sense of smell,
- muscle aches,
- fatigue, and
- loss of appetite
At this time, any doctor or nurse can order a test for a patient with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms.
If you don’t have a doctor, you can call Island Health’s Call Centre at 1-844-901-8442 to be assessed to determine if you need testing (with the exception of residents in the Mt. Waddington region, who should call 250-902-6091).
Appointments for COVID-19 testing must be pre-booked through a primary care provider or Island Health’s Call Centre. Testing sites are unable to accommodate unscheduled or walk-in visits.
Find a testing site, also known as a collection centre, at a location near you.
Island Health asks you to not go to a hospital emergency department seeking COVID-19 testing. However, if you have a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
Read more about symptoms, testing and isolation.
For more information, visit the BCCDC webpage on COVID-19 testing.