COVID-19 Testing

Types of Test • Eligibility for Testing • When Do I Need a COVID-19 Test? • Positive Test Result

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Types o​f Test

Testing can determine if you have COVID-19. This is an important step to help reduce the spread of the virus.

There are two types of tests available: PCR tests and rapid tests.

PCR Tests

PCR tests are conducted by trained health care providers who take a nasal swab. Results are generally analyzed in a lab. 

PCR tests provide more accurate results than rapid tests because they use a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to identify the viral genetic material of COVID-19.

Test result return times vary across BC but generally take one to three days.

Rapid Tests 

Rapid tests (called rapid antigen tests) also involve collecting a nasal swab. 

Rapid tests can be conducted at home and provide quick results – generally within 15 minutes. 

When taken while someone is at the peak of their infection, rapid antigen tests generally provide accurate results as this is when virus levels in the body are the highest. That's why these tests are only being used in BC for individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms. 

Some First Nations communities have access to another type of rapid test that provides results of similar quality to lab-based tests for people with COVID-19 symptoms. Trained health care providers administer these tests using equipment such as GeneXpert, ID NOW Analyzer and others.​ This equipment is different from the equipment used for the at-home​ rapid tests.​

Eligi​bility for Testing

All Indigenous people in BC experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (even mild ones) are eligible for a COVID-19 test at any testing centre, regardless of where they live. When visiting a testing site, please self-identify as Indigenous to ensure you are tested.

The FNHA is working with partners to identify further rapid testing locations for Indigenous people living in urban areas or away from home.

All Indigenous people are welcome to get tested, however if you experience or have any concerns, please contact FNHA's Quality Care and Safety Office to report your experience at

To find a testing centre near you, visit the testing centre finder.  

When Do I Need a ​​COVID-19 Test?

Testing is a priority for Indigenous people in BC who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include:

  • fever or chills
  • cough (either new or worsening, or exacerbation of chronic cough)
  • loss or change of sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • loss of appetite
  • extreme fatigue
  • runny nose or sneezing
  • headache
  • body or muscle aches
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

If you feel unsure about your symptoms:

If you find it hard to breathe, have chest pain, cannot drink anything, feel very sick, or feel confused, contact your health care provider right away or go to your local emergency department or call 9-1-1.

People older than 55 or who are at greater risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19 should get tested by a health care practitioner if that option is available within 24 to 72 hours of the onset of symptoms. If that option is not available, use a rapid (at-home) test. 

Children have similar but milder symptoms to adults.

You should continue to seek care for other medical conditions as needed, even when they are not related to COVID-19.​

Positive Test ​Result

People who test positive for COVID-19 need to:

  • self-isolate
  • manage symptoms
  • notify close contacts
See I Have COVID-19​ for more about these actions. 

 Be a COVID-19 #VaxChamp!

Vince Sampare, Gitsxan Prince Rupert, Takes the Pledge!

 Wanting to get vaccinated?

Vis​it the BC's provincial COVID-19 vaccination website to re​gister for a vaccination and get up-to-date information and help.


 Been exposed or experiencing symptoms?

Contact y​​​​our primary care provider or local public health office or call 8 - 1 - 1(Ta​ke a self-assessment.)​ ​​