Testing and Laboratory

Please note that as things change rapidly, Q&As and guidelines will be updated. Review this website often to ensure you have the most up to date information or consult your leader if you have concerns or identify discrepancies. 

Effective April 5, 2020

As per recommendations by the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Public Health, influenza A and B season has concluded and influenza testing will not be automatically added to COVID-19 virus test orders, and vice versa.  Please review the updated order entry information regarding COVID-19 virus test orders. 


Recommended samples types for COVID-19 testing are:

  • Nasopharyngeal (NP) swab for clinically stable patients or outpatients.
  • NP swab and a lower respiratory specimen (sputum/tracheal aspirate/BAL) for admitted critically ill patients.

‎Samples collected for Influenza/RSV and/or COVID-19 at St. Paul's Hospital and Mount Saint Joseph's Hospital will be forwarded directly to the SPH Virology Laboratory. All COVID-19 testing for PHC patients will be tested at SPH Virology. 

SPH Virology offers testing seven days a week.  Multiple runs of testing occur throughout the day, with the expected turnaround time of 24 hours.  Please contact the Medical Microbiologist on-call through switchboard if you have questions.

Ordering viral swabs

This page last updated Apr 5, 2020 12:40pm PDT