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Assessment, Testing and Results

*NEW* The province has announced significant changes to COVID-19 testing. See the details on the provincial website.

To ensure that resources are available to focus on high-risk settings, protecting our most vulnerable Ontarians and helping to keep critical infrastructure services running, publicly funded PCR testing is available to individuals that meet at least one of the criteria below.

If you have tested positive on a rapid antigen test, you don’t need a PCR test to confirm the result.

If you are not eligible for a test but have symptoms of COVID-19, assume that you have COVID-19 and isolate with your household for five days if you are fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy or are under 12 years old. If you are not fully vaccinated or are immune-compromised, isolate for 10 days. If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow the guidance outlined above.

The criteria of who is eligible for a PCR test at an Assessment Centre or pharmacy have changed.  The following individuals/populations are eligible for PCR testing at Assessment Centres and pharmacies:

If you have COVID-19 symptoms

You are eligible for PCR testing if you have at least one COVID-19 symptom and you are:

  • a hospitalized patient
  • a patient in an emergency department, at the discretion of the treating clinician
  • a patient-facing health care worker
  • a staff member, volunteer, resident, inpatient, essential care provider, or visitor in a hospital or congregate living setting (including long-term care, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings and correctional institutions)
  • an outpatient being considered for COVID-19 treatment
  • underhoused or homeless
  • someone who has been exposed, or a close contact of someone exposed, to a confirmed or suspected outbreak in a high risk setting, including a hospital, long-term care, retirement home, other congregate living setting or institution, or other settings as directed by the local public health unit
  • an elementary or secondary student or education staff who has received a PCR self-collection kit, if available through your school. These individuals are not eligible for PCR testing at an Assessment Centre. A very limited number of students and staff may receive a PCR self-collection kit through their school (until the supply is depleted), with the overall testing approach for schools shifting to Rapid Antigen Tests)
  • household members of workers in highest risk settings (i.e., Hospitals and congregate living settings (e.g., Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices and correctional institutions)
  • pregnant people
  • first responders, including fire, police and paramedics

If you do not have symptoms

If you do not have symptoms, you are eligible for PCR testing if you:

  • are from a First Nation, Inuit, or Métis community or are travelling into these communities for work
  • are unvaccinated and being admitted or transferred to or from a hospital or congregate living setting
  • are someone who has been exposed, or a close contact of someone exposed, to a confirmed or suspected outbreak in a high risk setting, including a hospital, long-term care, retirement home, other congregate living setting or institution, or other settings as directed by the local public health unit
  • have written prior approval for out-of-country medical services from the General Manager of OHIP or are a caregiver for someone who does
  • are in a hospital, long-term care, retirement home or other congregate living setting, as directed by public health units, provincial guidance or other directives

If you are not eligible for a PCR test and you have symptoms or COVID-19, or you are a high-risk contact, follow the guidance on the provincial website.

Rapid Antigen Testing

Rapid antigen testing may be used for routine, repeated screening of people with no symptoms to identify and prevent cases of COVID-19 in hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and other high-risk settings as an added layer of safety. Rapid antigen testing may also be used to test people with symptoms to find out the likelihood that their symptoms are related to COVID-19.

If you or someone you live with gets a positive result on a rapid antigen test, you no longer need to book a PCR test to confirm your results. If you are fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy, or are under 12 years old, isolate for five days starting when the symptoms began or from the date of the test, whichever came first. Those who are not fully vaccinated or are immune-compromised must isolate for 10 days.

A positive result on a RAT:

  • is a good indication that you have COVID-19
  • does not need to be confirmed by a PCR test
  • does not need to be reported to a public health unit unless otherwise directed by public health

A negative result on a RAT:

  • on a single test cannot rule out COVID-19 infection by itself
  • if you have symptoms, should be followed by a second test 24 to 48 hours later if available. If your second test taken within 48 hours of your first negative result is also negative, this most likely means you do not have COVID-19

The Health Unit does NOT have RATs to provide.

Provincial vaccine policies (e.g., Directive #6) require individuals in certain high-risk settings to undertake regular antigen testing if they do not provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Your workplace may have access to free rapid antigen test kits, or you can check here for pharmacy testing locations.

If you are being asked by your employer to be tested but you are not an organization covered by current ministry requirements, you can find a testing site here. Your workplace may have access to free rapid antigen tests from the Ministry of Health.

Where to Get Tested If You Are Eligible for a PCR Test

Large volumes of calls can overwhelm the centres’ phone systems. If you can’t get through, keep trying, and if you do not get a call back the following day – please try again.

*Assessment Centre hours may change on holidays

  • 100 Magedoma Boulevard, Brockville, Ontario
  • Medical Assessment available
  • Hours:
    • Monday to Friday, 12:00pm–8:00pm 
    • Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am–2:00pm; closed 12:30pm–1:00pm
  • Booking:
    • ONLINE: Brockville COVID-19 Assessment Centre Online Booking
    • CALL: 613-704-1441
      • If no appointments are available for the time and date that you would prefer on the first schedule that you select, go back and select the next schedule to view other available appointments.
    • To cancel an appointment that was booked online using the online portal, please call the booking line during regular hours at 613-704-1441 and press 2.
    • If you have mobility issues, please call 1-800-660-5853 for a referral to EMS to have an in home swab done.
    • If you are unable to book an appointment, some limited walk-in tests may be available but are not guaranteed.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time and follow signs to register before parking your vehicle.

*Brockville Assessment Centre can also provide care for those experiencing more than mild symptoms who need help managing their illness. Testing is still only provided for those who qualify but further monitoring of symptoms and diagnosis by a health care professional is available for those who are advised to seek care or who cannot manage their symptoms at home. To seek this care, book an appointment as advised above either online or by phone, or you may also attend the clinic safely as a walk-in during open hours.

  • Smiths Falls Site of the Perth Smiths Falls Hospital (Main Entrance – on Elmsley Street North)
  • Hours:
    • Monday–Friday: 9:00am–2:00pm
    • Saturday: Closed
    • Sunday: 8:00am–12:00pm
  • Booking:
    • Online Booking now available: Pomelo Platform (healthmyself.net)
    • Phone: 613-283-2330 extension 1401 to schedule an appointment. Phone lines are open 7 days a week from 8:00am–6:00pm
  • Almonte General Hospital, 75 Spring Street. Curbside parking with in-person testing/ home kit pickup in the Octagon Room. Follow signage upon arrival.
  • Tests provided to those who are eligible. Must be at least 6 months old. No travel testing.
  • HOURS:
    • Monday to Saturday 8:00am–4:00pm
  • Booking:
  • Bell Hall at 15 Campus Drive on Kemptville Campus
  • Hours: 
    • Monday to Friday: 9:00am–5:00pm,
    • Saturday: Closed
    • Sunday: 9:00am–1:00pm
  • Booking:
    • CALL: 613-258-3192
    • *new* Self-collection kits will be picked up at your appointment time. They can be done in your car or at home and brought back for drop-off. You cannot eat or drink anything (including gum, lozenges, toothpaste or cigarettes) for 30 minutes prior to testing.
    • Limited walk-ins may be available but not guaranteed.
    • Please watch the following video to familiarize yourself with the swab process.

The Ministry of Health has a listing all of the assessment centres on their website for people to find assessment centres in any area. You do not need your Health Card to get tested but you need to use it for reference if you want to get your results online.

Participating Pharmacies* can provide the following COVID-19 testing options:

  • Rapid antigen screening:
    • For workplace  
      • Free for high-risk settings that are required to test by the Province (Directive #6)
      • Other workplaces – fees may apply (workplace may have access to free rapid antigen tests from the Province)
    • For travel purposes (fees apply)
  • Diagnostic testing (lab-based PCR and rapid molecular tests) for:
    • Symptomatic individuals (free)
    • High risk contacts identified by Public Health (free)
    • Those in a targeted testing group (free)
    • Those with a positive rapid antigen test (free)
    • For travel purposes (fees apply)

*Not all pharmacies will provide diagnostic testing for symptomatic or high risk contacts. Please check before going and book ahead if required.

Please practice strict mask-wearing, physical distancing and hand hygiene when seeking testing.

Testing

If eligible, you can book an appointment at a local testing and assessment centre. See the listings above for information on hours, locations and booking instructions.

Participating pharmacies can also provide testing.

You do not need your Health Card to get tested but you need to use it for reference if you want to get your results online.

An antibody test is a blood test that detects whether the body has developed antibodies to a virus. The body takes two to four weeks to develop antibodies so it indicates past infection not current infection. Antibodies may last a lifetime (e.g., measles) or a short time (e.g., rhinovirus – cold). Currently, we do don’t know if having COVID-19 antibodies protects against re-infection, or how long the antibodies last. The antibody test is different than the nose/throat swab test for COVID-19 that detects the presence of the virus in your nose/throat and indicates current infection.

Health Canada has recently approved an antibody test for COVID-19 to be used in very limited and specific circumstances. This test is in its early stages and has both false positive and false negative results.

Tests for the purposes of travel (required either by destination or transportation) are not available at local Assessment and Testing Centres and are not covered by Ontario Health Care. The documentation from tests acquired at the Assessment Centres will NOT BE accepted at the Canadian Border. When looking for private travel testing services – be sure to confirm the timing and type of test needed. You can check with private labs, travel clinics or pharmacies to see if they offer the service. Some private services available are listed here: COVID-19 Testing for Travel – Ottawa Public Health.

Getting Your Results

Every lab is different and it also depends on the day. If a lab has less volume, the turnaround time is faster, more volume and it will take longer. Most results come back in 1–2 days, but some can longer. If it has been more than 2 days – try contacting the assessment centre directly if they gave you a phone number or email. Otherwise, you can call us (1-800-660-5853 extension 2222) to see if we can help find your results.

  • If you provided your health card at the time of testing, you can check your results online. You will need your health card again to access your results as there is a number on the back of the card you will need to enter.
  • If you provided your health care provider’s information at the time of testing, a copy of the results will be sent to them. You can call your health care provider to see if they have received the results or they may call you if that is part of their practice.
  • If after 2 days, you still cannot locate your results online, through the assessment centre or your health care provider, you can call the Health Unit at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2222 and we can try and track it down for you.

I have tried to get on the online portal and it isn’t working?

  • The online portal could be down. It does seem to crash sometimes. Unfortunately, if you can’t get on the portal, neither can we.

What if I don’t have internet?

  • Call your health care provider (or the assessment centre if they provided you with a contact phone number or email) to see if they have a copy of your results. If after 2 days you still haven’t heard, contact the Health Unit at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2222.

What should I do while I wait for my results?

  • While a negative COVID-19 result is good news, it is only a snapshot in time. It does not give you any guarantee that you will remain negative in the future.
  • Follow public health precautions:
    • Practice physical distancing – stay 2m (6ft) away from people in public areas
    • When you go out in public, take a cloth face covering/mask with you so you can put it on when you are potentially in close contact with other people, or where required indoors.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer after being in touch with others or handling anything from outside your home
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
    • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hands
    • Do not share personal items that come into contact with saliva such as toothbrushes, eating utensils, drinks, water bottles, and towels.
    • Get vaccinated at a local clinic or pharmacy
  • If you have access to the online portal, you can print a copy of your results right at home.
  • You can call your health care provider to get a copy of your results.
  • If you cannot access the online portal, contact either the assessment centre directly or the Health Unit and we can arrange to get you a copy.

Please note: The Health Unit is not providing letters for return to work with negative test results.

This pamphlet outlines the specifics of self-isolation.

  • It means you must ensure you have no contact with others who live outside your home and restricted contact with those in your home.
  • You can go outside in your own yard/property as long as no-one else is there.
  • You cannot walk around town in case you meet other people.
  • Defer medical and other appointments unless they are critical. Let the care provider know ahead of time that you are in self-isolation, wear a face covering/mask, and do not use public transportation.

Households have the highest risk of transmission from a case.

  • Household members of someone who is isolating as a high-risk contact should stay at home except for essential reasons, especially while the isolating person is waiting for test results.
  • Staying at home, except for essential reasons, includes: no non-essential visitors, no non-essential errands, exercise alone or only with people you live with, wear a mask if you need to go out for essential reasons, work from home if you can, and follow local rules about other children in the home attending school/child care.

*If you are self-isolating – please check out the Mental Wellness and Health Equity pages of our website to see what resources and supports are available. You can also call 1-800-660-5853 for further assistance.

Self-isolation: Guide for Caregivers, Household Members and Close Contacts

How to Self-Monitor