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, odynophagia, rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, or loss of appetite.

Individuals in the following groups should be prioritized for testing:

  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Individuals requiring admission to hospital or likely to be admitted, such as pregnant individuals near-term, patients on hemodialysis, or cancer patients receiving radiation or chemotherapy.
  • Healthcare workers
  • Individuals with a higher probability of being infected with COVID-19 such as contacts of a known case of COVID-19 and travellers just returned to Canada
  • Residents of remote, isolated, or Indigenous communities
  • People living in congregate settings such as work-camps, correctional facilities, shelters, group homes, assisted living and seniors’ residences
  • People who are homeless or have unstable housing
  • Essential service providers, such as first responders

Health care providers can order a COVID-19 test for any patient based on their clinical judgment.

I don’t have any symptoms. Should I be tested?
No. No. The latest BC COVID-19 testing guidelines (issued May 11, 2020) suggest that those without symptoms should not be tested. To read the latest guidelines, 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

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


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 May 27, 2020 6:53pm PDT