BC updates COVID-19 testing guidelines

Testing is available for all patients who need it, but not everyone requires a test. Please visit the BCCDC lab testing page to learn more.

A number of priority groups have been determined in the guidelines. In addition, any physician or nurse practitioner can order a test for COVID-19, based on their clinical judgment. Testing should be focused on individuals for whom the results will change the clinical care they receive or the public health management of their case. Individuals can also be referred for testing by calling 8-1-1.

If an individual has no symptoms, mild symptoms, or is a contact of a confirmed case OR returning traveller and isolating at home, they do not require a test. This group can be managed at home. Please advise patients, with or without a history of travel, who have respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home, to isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days after onset of their symptoms​.

The testing used in Canada for COVID-19 performs well in being able to detect the virus when it is present in the patient’s sample, but we know some early infections can be missed. This is because a person may not release or “shed” the virus through the nose (where the sample is collected) in the early stages of infection and in cases of severe pneumonia.  

Read the outpatient management guideline for more information.