COVID Testing for Staff/Medical Staff


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. 

Who should be tested for COVID-19? 

As of April 8th, the BC Guidelines for testing include all individuals with new respiratory or systemic symptoms compatible with COVID-19, however mild. Symptoms may include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of sense of smell or taste, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches.

  • It is particularly important to test symptomatic individuals who:
  • Are residents or staff of long-term care facilities
  • Require admission to hospital or are likely to be admitted
  • Are healthcare workers
  • Are contacts of a known case of COVID-19
  • Are travellers who in the past 14 days returned to BC from outside Canada, or from an area with higher infection rates within Canada
  • Are residents of remote, isolated, or Indigenous communities
  • Live in congregate settings such as work-camps, correctional facilities, shelters, group homes, assisted living and seniors’ residences
  • Are homeless or have unstable housing
  • Are essential service providers, such as first responders.
  • Health care providers can order a COVID-19 test for any patient based on their clinical judgment.

To read the latest guidelines (updated June 18, 2020), click here

I don’t have any symptoms. Should I be tested?
No. The latest BC COVID-19 testing guidelines (June 18, 2020) suggest that those without symptoms should not be tested. To read the latest guidelines (updated June 18, 2020), click here. 
How do I access COVID-19 testing? 

Symptomatic PHC health care workers should visit the PHC/VCH staff assessment site located in a parking lot near Heather and West 33rd Avenue.

Advanced Parking Lot #9075
700 block West 33rd Avenue
Entrance is on the north side of West 33rd Avenue (between Willow and Heather Streets)
Open 9am to 4pm daily - closed on weekends and stat holidays 

Please bring your PHN and PHC ID, if you have it.

The two Vancouver Acute assessment sites are open seven days a week:

City Centre Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC), 1290 Hornby Street, Vancouver.

Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

REACH UPCC, 1145 Commercial Drive, Vancouver.

Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If visiting the City Centre UPCC or West 33rd, patients do not need a referral or appointment and will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. If visiting the REACH UPCC, patients are asked to call 604-216-3138 to schedule a time to be assessed.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control released updated COVID-19 testing guidelines last week. Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, no matter how mild. Individuals who do not have symptoms do not require a test. Anyone with symptoms may visit any assessment centre in BC.

COVID-19-like symptoms include new onset of: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, painful swallowing, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue or loss of appetite.

As B.C.’s restart progresses and levels of interaction increase, early detection of any new COVID-19 cases is a critical element of the public health strategy for maintaining low levels of transmission in the province. Given this, the recommendation is to have a low threshold for testing symptomatic individuals for COVID-19 infection.


PHC health care workers and medical staff who qualify for assessment and testing can also visit the VCH assessment sites. 

Blusson Spinal Cord Centre
818 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver (main floor lecture hall)
Open 8am to 4pm daily

Lions Gate Hospital
231 East 15th Street, North Vancouver (gymnasium)
Open 8:30am to 1:30pm daily

Richmond Hospital
7000 Westminster Highway, Richmond (Cardiac Rehabilitation Room - Blue Zone)
Open 8:30am to 1:30pm daily

What is the expected turn-around time? 

Expected turn-around-time is within 24 hours. Large batches of specimens are run and reported almost continuously, seven days a week.

What should I do while awaiting test results?  

Until you are contacted with the test result, you are advised to self-isolate at home until results are provided to you, as directed in the handout you will be provided at the assessment site.
If your swab is negative, you are to return to work for your next scheduled shift. If positive, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

How will I find out the results of my COVID-19 testing? 

Ensure your contact information is up to date when you register at the assessment site. Samples from the West 33rd Avenue site are sent to the MSJ lab. Positive results are sent to Public Health, who will then inform the client. Anyone with a negative result will also be contacted.

We understand how stressful it is to wait, but PLEASE DO NOT CALL VIROLOGY, MICROBIOLOGY OR THE GENERAL LAB for your personal COVID-19 testing results.

Providence is reviewing other mechanisms to support timely report out of negative results as well. In the March 21 PHC update the Virology Laboratory at SPH announced a new fully automated, high throughput testing method for COVID-19 which will help with turnaround times.

But every call that must be answered will divert resources away from the processing of the tests, therefore prolonging response time. 

Please refer to the following links for self-care. For Providence staff, click here; for medical staff, click here

Lab leadership appreciates your support in not phoning directly for results.

Please note that if your swab was not collected at the staff assessment site at West 33rd Avenue or the MSJ and SPH EDs, the sample may have been directed to another laboratory which tests for COVID-19 (such as the BCCDC or VGH).


I tested negative for COVID-19 but I still have cold symptoms. When can I come back to work? 
As long as you are ill and symptomatic, stay home!
I was tested for COVID-19 and the swab came back negative. When can I come back to work?
When you are symptom-free, come back to work.
What if I test positive?
You will be instructed to self-isolate at home for 14 days. Please report the test results to your manager and call the Absence Call Line (ACL) to report.
I heard a colleague I work with tested positive for COVID.  What do I do?
Contact tracing will be done by PHC Occupational Health on all patients and health care workers who test positive. Your manager or Occupational Health will contact you to find out if you are symptomatic or to ensure you present early for testing if you do have symptoms. This applies to all staff including physicians and trainees.
Is St. Paul’s ED still testing staff or just at the drive-thru tent at the 33rd and Heather parking lot?
PHC staff can be tested in the Emergency Departments at both St. Paul’s and MSJ in addition to the drive-thru tent (33rd and Heather). Please note: symptomatic PHC health care workers should visit the drive-thru site if possible.
What if a family member (or someone in my household) gets COVID-19 or shows symptoms? 
Health care workers and essential staff can continue to self-monitor and to work as long as they remain asymptomatic. If you get symptoms, you must self-isolate. Please note that the BCCDC advises that if you live in the same household as a patient with respiratory symptoms, please do whatever you can to distance yourself from the patient. For example, stay in separate rooms, sleep in separate beds and use separate bathrooms, if possible.
How sick is too sick to come to work?
That little tickle in your throat, a slight fever, a mild cough, etc., must all be taken seriously. If you feel these symptoms coming on at home, stay there. If you feel them coming on at work, put on a mask. Finish any essential services you are providing. Get tested. Go home and self-isolate.
This page last updated Jun 30, 2020 4:27pm PDT