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:

  • fever,                               
  • chills,
  • cough,
  • shortness of breath,
  • sore throat,
  • painful swallowing,
  • stuffy or runny nose,
  • loss of sense of smell,
  • headache,
  • 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.