COVID-19 Testing Information

Last revised - June 14, 2021

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

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, please continue to self-isolate, follow the self-isolation instructions and do not leave your place of isolation unless it is to go for testing or to seek medical care.

Type Symptoms
Classic symptoms Feeling feverish, new or worsening cough and/or difficulty breathing.
Other symptoms

Sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new olfactory (smell) or taste disorder(s), nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, runny nose* or nasal congestion.*

*In the absence of underlying reason for these symptoms such as seasonal allergies and post-nasal drip.
Less common symptoms Unexplained fatigue/malaise (feeling ill) /myalgias (muscle aches), delirium (acutely altered mental status and inattention), unexplained or increased number of falls, acute functional decline, exacerbation of chronic conditions, chills, headaches, conjunctivitis (red, inflamed eyes), croup (barking cough) or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (some of the symptoms associated with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children include persistent fever, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as rash); an infected infant could also have trouble feeding.

OR

2. Exposure:

  • You have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19:
    • If you know when you were exposed, get tested at least seven days after your last exposure and stay in self-isolation; if you were tested before Day 7 following exposure, a repeat test is recommended on or after Day 10 following exposure. 
    • If you have had ongoing exposure to an individual who tested positive (e.g., a household member), get tested right away. If you were tested before Day 7 of your self-isolation, a repeat test is recommended on or after Day 10 following exposure.
  • 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.

OR

3. Long-term care, retirement homes, and other congregate settings:

  • You are a resident, a worker or a visitor to long-term care, retirement homes, homeless shelters or other congregate settings (for example: group homes, community supported living, disability-specific communities or congregate settings, short-term rehab, hospices and other shelters).

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 require testing 72 hours before a scheduled (non-urgent or emergent) surgery (as recommended by your health care provider);
  • You are a patient and/or their one accompanying escort tra­velling out of country for medical treatment;
  • You are an international student that has passed their 14-day quarantine period;
  • You are a farm worker;
  • You are an educator who cannot access pharmacy-testing; or
  • You are in a targeted testing group as outlined in guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Learn more about COVID-19 testing for the purpose of pre-travel clearance.

New: As of March 23, 2021, the Heron and Ray Friel COVID-19 Care and Testing Centres will pause COVID-19 testing for the purpose of international travel. This is a temporary measure to shift resources and meet the current demand for symptomatic testing within the city of Ottawa. For more information, and to find a list of other private clinics, visit the Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce dashboard.

Following testing guidance from the Ministry of Health, Ottawa’s assessment centres will no longer provide free testing 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 by private laboratory providers for a fee and travellers in need of a test are encouraged to search for convenient local options. For more information, and to find a list of private clinics, visit the Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce dashboard.

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.

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.

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 six months to 18 years (infants less than six months of age must visit the CHEO Emergency Department)
  • Hours:
    • Monday to Friday, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
    • Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm

View other locations

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

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

View other locations

COVID-19 assessment centre for adults at Brewer Park Arena

  • Ages: Anyone 18+ years old
  • Hours:
    • Monday to Friday: 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
    • Saturday and Sunday: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm

View other locations

COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre on Coventry Road

  • Ages: 10+ years old
  • Hours: Seven days a week: 10 am to 2 pm
  • To cancel your appointment, please email: DTTI@toh.ca

View other locations

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

  • 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: 9 am to 4 pm, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
    • Click here to 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: 
  • Somerset West Community Health Centre:
    • Location:  55 Eccles Street, Ottawa 
    • Hours: 
      • 9 am to 4 pm, Monday to Wednesday
      • 1 pm to 4 pm on Thursday
      • 9 am to 2:30 pm on Friday
  • Click here to book an appointment or call 613-327-8145

View other locations

 

COVID-19 pop-up testing site at Vanier Community Service Centre

View other locations

Southwest Ottawa COVID-19 Assessment Centre (Located in Richmond)

The Southwest Ottawa COVID-19 Assessment is now closed. Residents are encouraged to access other sites across the city.

View other locations

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

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

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 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday

Ottawa’s daily testing update

What to do after getting tested for COVID-19

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: 

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

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

  3. Symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours OR 

  4. 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. 

Access COVID-19 test results

 

 

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 6 pm
  • Weekends, from 9 am to 4 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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