COVID-19 Testing Criteria

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.

Any Ottawa resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can go for testing at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre or COVID-19 Care Clinics and should not be turned away, unless volumes are significant. If volumes are significant, priority will be given to residents from high-risk groups and those showing 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.

COVID-19 Symptoms
Classic Symptoms feeling feverish, new or worsening cough and/or difficulty breathing
Other Symptoms

sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new olfactory 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, delirium (acutely altered mental status and inattention), unexplained or increased number of falls, acute functional decline, exacerbation of chronic conditions, chills, headaches, conjunctivitis, croup, or multisystem inflammatory vasculitis in children (some of the symptoms associated with multisystem inflammatory vasculitis in children include persistent fever and a variety of symptoms that may include abdominal pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as rash); an infected infant could also have trouble feeding.
Asymptomatic No signs or symptoms of COVID-19

The following list of individuals will still be assessed as priority for testing, depending on volume. 

  • Healthcare workers or staff who work in health care facilities and members of their households;
  • First responders such as firefighters, police, and paramedics;
  • Critical infrastructure workers – this includes grocery stores, food services, maintenance and transportation workers, and utilities. (See the full list of Ontario’s essential workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.);
  • Cross-border workers;
  • Caregivers and care providers;
  • Individuals with frequent healthcare contact such as patients with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy, dialysis therapy, pre- or post-transplant, pregnancy, and newborns;
  • A close contact of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19;
  • Returning international travellers;
  • Members of remote, isolated, rural, and/or indigenous communities;
  • Persons 60 years of age and older

Otherwise, use the self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care. 

Note: Certain populations will be tested by alternate means outside of the COVID-19 Assessment Centre or COVID-19 Care Clinic including:

  • Residents and staff in long-term care homes, retirement homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, mental health institution, hospice, emergency day care centres, and other congregate living settings. Staff should consult with their Occupational Health representative for clarification.
  • Members of remote, isolated, rural, and/or indigenous communities.
  • Hospitalized individuals.

Contact Us