COVID-19 Testing Information

Last revised - September 20, 2021

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When should I go for testing?

You can get a COVID-19 test at an assessment centre, care clinic, or community testing site if any of the following apply to you:

1. Symptoms:

Learn about the symptoms of COVID-19

 

COVID-19 symptoms
Type

Symptoms

(new or worsening, and not related to other known causes or conditions you already have)

IMPORTANT: Anyone with ANY of the symptoms listed in the chart is eligible for testing.

Most common symptoms of COVID-19

*For adults (18 years and older) who are not considered high-risk contacts, you must get a COVID-19 test for the following symptoms even if you are fully vaccinated

 

If you have one or more of these symptoms and you choose not to get tested, you must self-isolate for 10 days.

  • Fever and/or chills (Temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius/100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.)
  • Cough or barking cough (croup) (Continuous, more than usual, making a whistling noise when breathing (not related to asthma, post-infectious reactive airways, COPD).)
  • Shortness of breath (Out of breath, unable to breathe deeply (not related to asthma).)
  • Decrease or loss of taste or smell (Not related to seasonal allergies, neurological disorders.)
  • Muscle aches and pains (That is unexplained or unusual (not related to related to a sudden injury, fibromyalgia, or receiving a COVID-19 vaccine the past 48 hours).)
  • Extreme tiredness, lack of energy or feeling unwell (That is unusual or unexpected (not related to depression, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction, or receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 48 hours).

Other symptoms of COVID-19

The following symptoms require COVID-19 testing if you have been identified as a high-risk contact, even if you are fully vaccinated.

If you have one or more of these symptoms you must self-isolate (I.e., you must stay home except for medical emergencies or to seek COVID-19 testing) for at least 24 hours until symptoms are improving:

If you have not been identified as a high-risk contact, you are still eligible to get tested, but it is not required to return to work or school.

 

 

  • Sore throat (Painful swallowing or difficulty swallowing (not related to seasonal allergies, acid reflux, post-nasal drip).)
  • Runny or stuffy/congested nose (Not related to seasonal allergies, being outside in cold weather, chronic sinusitis unchanged from baseline.)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye) (Not related to blepharitis, recurrent styes.)
  • Decreased or lack of appetite (Not related to anxiety, constipation.)
  • Abdominal pain (Persistent or ongoing (not related to menstrual cramps, gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Headache (New and persistent, unusual, unexplained, or long-lasting (not related to tension-type headaches, chronic migraines, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in the last 48 hours).)

***Please note, if you have been identified as a High-risk contact, you must get tested for ANY of the symptoms listed above. Even if you test negative, if you are not fully vaccinated you must remain in self-isolation from 10 days from your last exposure to someone with COVID-19, or as directed by OPH. Please see the Self-Isolation Instructions for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and COVID-19 High Risk Contacts pages for more information.

COVID-19 symptoms in children

When assessing for symptoms, focus on whether they are new, worsening or different from your child’s baseline health status or usual state. Symptoms associated with known chronic health conditions or related to other known causes/conditions should not be considered unless new, different or worsening.

This chart does not replace the need to complete screening each day before school or childcare. The screening tool acts as a decision guide to support parents and guardians to assess whether or not their child can attend school or childcare. Please complete daily for each child separately.

COVID-19 symptoms in children
Type Symptoms

Most common symptoms of COVID-19

  • Symptoms most commonly association with COVID-19 infection
  • Children with one of the listed symptoms, should stay home, isolate and get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible
  • Fever (temperature 37.8 C/100 F or higher) 

  • Chills 

  • Cough (more than usual if chronic cough) including croup (barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing) not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, asthma, reactive airway) 

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea, out of breath, unable to breathe deeply, wheeze, that is worse than usual if chronically short of breath) not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, asthma) 

  • Decrease or loss of smell or taste (new olfactory or taste disorder) not related to other knows causes or conditions (for example, nasal polyps, allergies, neurological disorders) 

  • Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea, not related to other known causes or conditions (transient vomiting due to anxiety in children, chronic vestibular dysfunction, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, side effect of medication)

Other symptoms of COVID-19

  • Children with one or more of these symptom(s) must stay at home and isolate. 
  • Children who are high-risk contacts* must get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible. 
    • Household contacts (including siblings) who do not have symptoms and are fully vaccinated* do not need to isolate. Household contacts who have symptoms OR who are not fully vaccinated need to isolate.
  • Children who are not high-risk contacts, do not need to get tested but must stay home until symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.
    • Household contacts (including siblings) who do not have symptoms do not need to isolate and can leave the home.   
  • Sore throat (painful swallowing or difficulty swallowing) not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, postnasal drip, gastroesophageal (acid) reflux) 

  • Stuffy nose and/or runny nose (nasal congestion and/or rhinorrhea) not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, seasonal allergies, returning inside from the cold, chronic sinusitis unchanged from baseline, reactive airways) 

  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye) (Not related to blepharitis, recurrent styes.) 

  • Decreased or lack of appetite (Not related to anxiety, constipation.) 

  • Headache that is new or persistent, unusual, unexplained or long-lasting not related to known causes or conditions (for example, tension-type headache, chronic migraines) and not related to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in the last 48 hours 

  • Extreme tiredness, lack of energy or feeling unwell (That is unusual or unexpected (not related to other known causes or conditions or receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 48 hours).) 

  • Muscle aches and pains (That are unexplained or unusual (not related to other known causes or conditions or receiving a COVID-19 vaccine the past 48 hours)). 

 

OR

2. Exposure:

  • You have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and you are NOT fully vaccinated*:
    • Self-isolate immediately
    • If you have symptoms: you should get tested immediately.
    • If you do not have symptoms: you should get tested at least 7 days after your last exposure to the person who tested positive for COVID-19; if you were tested before day 7 and the test result was negative, a repeat test is recommended.
    • If you have had ongoing exposure to an individual who tested positive (e.g., a household member) get tested 7 days after the positive person developed symptoms, or 7 days after the positive person’s test date, if they have no symptoms. If you were tested before day 7 and the test result was negative, a repeat test is recommended.
  • You have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and you ARE fully vaccinated*:
    • If you have symptoms, self-isolate and get tested immediately
    • If you do not have symptoms, self-monitor for symptoms and get tested at least 7 days after your last exposure to the person who tested positive for COVID-19; if you were tested before day 7 and the test result was negative, a repeat test is recommended.
    • If you have had ongoing exposure to an individual who tested positive (e.g., a household member), get tested 7 days after the positive person developed symptoms, or 7 days after the positive person’s test date, if they have no symptoms. If you were tested before day 7 and the test result was negative, a repeat test is recommended.
  • You received a COVID Alert app exposure notification; or
  • You are a resident or a worker in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified by Ottawa Public Health.

* You may consider yourself ‘fully vaccinated’ when it has been 14 days after receiving:

  • The full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada (e.g., 2 doses of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca/COVIDSHIELD, OR 1 dose of Janssen [Johnson & Johnson]) or any combination of such vaccines, OR ​
  • One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada (e.g., Sinopharm) followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) OR
  • Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada (e.g., Abdala).​

OR

3. Long-term care or retirement homes:

  • You are a resident, a worker, government inspector or a visitor to long-term care or retirement homes.
    • Long-term care staff, caregivers, volunteers and visitors who are fully immunized against COVID-19 are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering or visiting a long-term care home.

OR

4. First Nations, Inuit or Métis:

  • You are a person who identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis; or
  • You are a person travelling to work in a remote First Nations, Inuit or Métis community.

OR

5. Other reasons:

  • You received a preliminary positive result through rapid testing;
  • You are a patient and/or their one accompanying escort tra­velling out of country for medical treatment;
  • You are a temporary foreign worker seeking testing for the purpose of international travel
Learn more about COVID-19 testing for the purpose of pre-travel clearance.

NEW: Ray Friel and Brewer pausing pre-travel testing

As of September 19, 2021, the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Park Arena and the Ray Friel COVID-19 Care and Testing Centre will suspend testing for the purpose of pre-travel clearance. This is a temporary measure to shift resources and meet the current demand for symptomatic testing within the city of Ottawa.

Pre-travel appointments that have already been scheduled will be honoured. Staff will directly contact travellers with booked appointments to confirm any next steps.

Residents who meet current provincial testing criteria can continue to seek testing at the Brewer and Ray Friel locations, in addition to Ottawa’s other assessment centres.

Private testing options for international and domestic travellers

Following testing guidance from the Ministry of Health, Ottawa’s assessment centres no longer provide free COVID-19 tests for the purpose of pre-travel clearance.

Travellers should consult their travel carrier’s guidelines to ensure they have the most up-to-date information about requirements. Travellers should also refer to the federal government’s travel website for up-to-date expectations and requirements related to their destination.

If there is a requirement to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test when traveling domestically or internationally, it is important to ensure ample time for testing and receiving results. COVID-19 testing services are available for a fee, and travellers in need of a test are encouraged to search for convenient local options.

Travellers are also responsible for verifying COVID-19 testing requirements with their airline or the place they will be visiting.

Suggested private providers to get tested for pre-travel clearance:

Riverside Travel Medicine Clinic 

Appletree Medical Centres

  • 2150 Robertson Road, Ottawa
  • 356 Woodroffe Ave, Ottawa
  • 1595 Merivale Road, Ottawa
  • 2573 Baseline Road, Ottawa
  • 150 Katimavik Road, Ottawa
  • 225 Preston Street, Ottawa
  • Click here to book online

Immigration Physician Ottawa

Lacroix Medical Clinic 

  • 232 Boulevard Saint Joseph, Gatineau, Québec 
  • 819-778-1330 

Dynacare Clinics in Montreal  

  • 475, boulevard de la Côte-Vertu, Saint-Laurent, Québec 
  • 8560, rue Saint-Hubert, Montreal, Quebec 

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • Check online for locations  

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and there are fees associated at these clinic

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Getting to a testing site:

  • Do not use public transportation
  • Use a private vehicle
  • If a private vehicle is unavailable, take a taxi/shared ride service (e.g., Uber, Lyft, etc.) while wearing a procedure/surgical mask and sitting in the rear passenger seat with the window open (weather permitting). If possible, the client should also note the taxi company name and operator number in case there is a need for contact.

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Where to get tested in Ottawa:

Please only book one appointment at a single site and cancel your appointment if you plan on no longer attending.

To keep our communities safe, Ottawa’s assessment centres and testing sites follow all guidelines mandated by the provincial government and public health experts. Please note the information on this page is designed to guide you and your family in making a decision to book a test, it does not guarantee you will be tested on site / receive a test on site. Testing is subject to assessment by a clinician on site. All sites have professional, caring and highly trained staff to make your testing experience quick, safe and as comfortable as possible. If you think you need a test, please book an appointment and get it done today. Testing is subject to eligibility requirements, assessment centres and care clinics reserve the right to refuse a test based on their assessment of the individual’s symptoms, exposure, unique situation, and based on public health guidance.

 NEW Temporary Pop-Up COVID-19 Assessment at McNabb

  • Ages: Anyone over six months old
  • Hours:
    • Monday September 20, 2021: 10am to 3pm
    • Tuesday, September 21: 10am to 3pm
    • Wednesday, September 22 to Wednesday, September 29: 11am to 7pm
  • Services provided: Drop-in COVID-19 testing, no appointment needed. (Please note that an appointment system is expected in the next few days to alleviate the need for line-ups)
  • Location: 180 Percy St, Ottawa, ON K1R 6E5

COVID-19 CHEO assessment centre and Kids Come First Care Clinic at Brewer Park Arena

  • Ages:
    • For testing at the COVID-19 CHEO assessment centre, ages two months to 18 years
    • For care at the COVID-19 CHEO kids come first care clinic, ages two months to 18 years (infants less than two months of age must visit the CHEO Emergency Department)
  • Hours:
    • Monday to Friday, 10:30am to 5:30pm
    • Saturday and Sunday, 8:30am to 3:30pm
  • Services provided:
    • For a COVID-19 test for children and youth (two months to 18 years): book an appointment at the COVID-19 CHEO Assessment Centre (limited walk-up testing is available). For those requiring extra support for accessibility reasons, please contact CHEO’s Patient Experience team at 613-737-7600, ext. 6720. 
    • If you are unable to schedule an appointment at your preferred time, the other COVID Care and Testing Centres provide testing services for children aged six months and older. Appointments are required at these locations. Please scroll for information about these COVID Testing Centres.
    • For an in-person consultation with a physician within 1-3 days for children and youth (two months to 18 years) with acute illnesses with new symptoms such as fever, cough, vomiting, belly pain, ear ache or sore throat: book an appointment at the COVID-19 CHEO Kids Come First Care Clinic.
    • As of September 9, 2021, the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Park Arena will suspend testing for the purpose of pre-travel clearance. This is a temporary measure to shift resources and meet the current demand for symptomatic testing within the city of Ottawa.
  • Location: 151 Brewer Way, Ottawa
  • Download factsheet:
  • Book an appointment for non-travel testing:
  • Book an appointment for travel testing:
    • As of September 9, 2021, the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Park Arena will suspend testing for the purpose of pre-travel clearance. This is a temporary measure to shift resources and meet the current demand for symptomatic testing within the city of Ottawa.
    • Pre-travel appointments that have already been scheduled will be honoured. Staff will directly contact travellers with booked appointments to confirm any next steps. 

View other locations

COVID-19 care and testing centres - Moodie and Ray Friel locations

  • Ages: Anyone over six months old
  • Hours:
    • Moodie: 
      • Monday to Friday: 8am to 3:30pm
    • Ray Friel:
      • Monday to Friday: 8am to 3:30pm  

View other locations

COVID-19 assessment centre for adults at Brewer Park Arena

  • Ages: Anyone 18+ years old
  • Hours:
    • Monday to Friday: 10:30am to 5:30pm
    • Saturday and Sunday: 8:30am to 3:30pm
  • Services provided: 
    • Scheduled appointments and very limited walk-up testing for individuals who meet current provincial testing criteria
    • As of September 9, 2021, the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Park Arena will suspend testing for the purpose of pre-travel clearance. This is a temporary measure to shift resources and meet the current demand for symptomatic testing within the city of Ottawa.
  • Location: 151 Brewer Way, Ottawa
  • Download factsheet: Important information about the COVID-19 assessment centre for adults at Brewer Park Arena
  • Book an appointment for non-travel testing:
    • Book an appointment or call 613-737-8193 for testing at the COVID-19 assessment centre for adults at Brewer Park Arena
    • Please note telephone booking is reserved for those who do not have internet access. It is not an information line
    • To cancel your appointment, please email: brewercancel@toh.ca
  • Book an appointment for travel testing:
    • As of September 9, 2021, the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Park Arena will suspend testing for the purpose of pre-travel clearance. This is a temporary measure to shift resources and meet the current demand for symptomatic testing within the city of Ottawa.
    • Pre-travel appointments that have already been scheduled will be honoured. Staff will directly contact travellers with booked appointments to confirm any next steps. 

View other locations

COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre on Coventry Road

  • To cancel your appointment, please email: DTTI@toh.ca

View other locations

  • COVID-19 testing at three of the Ottawa Community Health Centres

  • Ages: Testing adults and children above six months of age at Centretown and Sandy Hill sites. Testing adults and children aged 3 years and above at the Somerset West site. 
  • Services provided: By appointment only, testing available for those living in Ontario without a health card
  • Download factsheet: Important information about COVID-19 testing at three of the Ottawa Community Health Centres
  • Locations:
  • Centretown Community Health Centre: 
    • Location: 420 Cooper Street, Ottawa (entrance off Somerset Street West, next to 395 Somerset and across the street from the Wine Rack)  
    • Hours: 9am to 4pm, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
    • Book an appointment or call 343-553-2661
      • Please note telephone booking is reserved for those who do not have internet access. It is not an information line.
  • Sandy Hill Community Health Centre: 
    • Location: 221 Nelson Street, Ottawa 
    • Hours: 
      • 9am to 4pm, Monday to Thursday
      • 9am to 2pm on Friday
    • Book an appointment or call 613-789-1500
  • Somerset West Community Health Centre:
    • Location:  55 Eccles Street, Ottawa 
    • Hours: 
      • 9am to 4pm, Monday to Wednesday
      • 1pm to 4pm on Thursday
      • 9am to 2:30pm on Friday
  • Book an appointment or call 613-327-8145

View other locations

  • North Grenville COVID-19 Assessment Centre (Located in Kemptville)

  • Ages: Anyone over six months old
  • Hours:
    • Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
    • Sunday, 9am to 1pm

View other locations

  • COVID-19 testing at Ontario pharmacies

You can get a COVID-19 test at a participating pharmacy if you do not have symptoms, have not been in close physical contact with someone who currently has COVID-19 and are not part of a specific outbreak investigation.

Please visit the province's website to ensure you have current information about testing options and locations available to you.
  • Testing for specific populations

Inuit

Note: For Inuit wishing to access COVID-19 assessment and testing, please contact Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team for an appointment. Services offered in Inuktitut and English.

Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team (AIFHT)  
24 Selkirk Street, Suite 300
Telephone: 613-740-0999 
Open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

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  • Frequently asked questions

Is there a possibility that a person who gets the virus once can get it again?

Most people who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection will have some immunity to protect against future infection or to make a future infection less severe. However, reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is possible. For this reason, NACI (the National Advisory Committee on Immunization) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines be offered to individuals who have previously been infected with COVID-19. 

Although the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada are effective, protection from COVID-19 takes time to develop. You should not assume that you will be protected right away. Also, no vaccine is 100% effective - there will be a small percentage of people who will remain unprotected despite being vaccinated and vaccines may not protect against all variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Because of ongoing COVID-19 transmission in the community and because the vaccines will not protect everyone, it is therefore important that you continue to follow public health measures (e.g., physical distancing, avoiding close contact with non-household members, wearing a mask, staying home when sick, and practicing hand hygiene) to keep each other safe, whether you have been vaccinated or not.   

Should I get re-tested once I have recovered from COVID-19? 

Ottawa Public Health and the Province of Ontario do not recommend re-testing after finishing isolation unless new symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 develop after isolation has ended. Another test is not needed to discontinue isolation for those who have recovered from COVID-19. 

 Most individuals can discontinue self-isolation when: 

  • They have completed 10 days of self- isolation since symptoms first appeared and 

  • They have no fever (without the use of fever reducing medication) and 

  • Symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours OR 

  • It’s been 10 days from the testing date (if asymptomatic) as long as the individual stays symptom free. 

After testing positive for COVID-19, do I need a negative test to resume activities, such as work and going out in public? 
NoA negative test is not needed to resume activities, such as going to work, school, or out in public. Instead, those who have tested positive for COVID-19 can resume normal activities once public health has told them they no longer need to self-isolate.  
Why am I still testing positive for COVID-19 after my self-isolation period has ended? Am I still contagious? 
No. Continuing to test positive after recovery from COVID-19 infection is common, with some people still testing positive for weeks or months after their first test. This is because the test is detecting viral remnants that are no longer living and unable to cause infection. Therefore, you will no longer be contagious. For this reason, Ottawa Public Health and the Province of Ontario do not recommend the routine use of a negative test to show recovery from COVID-19. 

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Contact Information

Provincial Vaccine Information Line

  • 7 days a week, from 8 am to 8 pm
  • Call if you have questions about Ontario's COVID-19 vaccination program.
  • Service is available in multiple languages.
  • Telephone: 1-888-999-6488
  • TTY: 1-866-797-0007

Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 Telephone Line

  • Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 4:30 pm
  • Translation is available in multiple languages
  • Telephone: 613-580-6744 follow the prompts to the COVID-19 telephone line
  • TTY: 613-580-9656

Emergency Services

  • If you are in distress (e.g., significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to the Assessment Centre or a COVID-19 Care clinic. Go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.

See someone not respecting COVID-19 rules?

How to access help during COVID-19

  • 211 Ontario can help you find financial and social support during COVID-19
  • Telephone: 2-1-1

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