We get a lot of questions in the COVID-19 mailbox. Not surprisingly, many about who should be tested and when. Here are our current best-practice answers. (Remember, we follow the provincial testing guidelines). 

Q: I don’t have any symptoms. Should I be tested?

A: No. Without symptoms, the test may not be reliable even if you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive or are within 14-days of returning from overseas travel. Please do not go to an assessment site unless you become symptomatic.

Q: When should I be tested?

A: You will ONLY be tested if you meet these criteria: 

  • You provide direct care to patients, clients or residents

  • AND

  • You have symptoms (cough, OR fever, OR shortness of breath OR other cold-like symptoms).


Q: I tested negative for COVID-19 but I still have cold symptoms. When can I come back to work? 

A: As long as you are ill and symptomatic, stay home!

Q: I was tested for COVID-19 and the swab came back negative. When can I come back to work?

A: When you are symptom-free, come back to work.

Q: Who can I call to get the results of my test?

A: We know that it’s stressful to wait, but PLEASE DO NOT CALL VIROLOGY, MICROBIOLOGY OR THE GENERAL LAB for your personal COVID-19 testing results. If your test is positive, we will communicate that to you ASAP.

Q: What if I test positive?

A: 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.

Q: Is St. Paul’s ED still testing staff or just at the drive-thru tent at the 33rd and Heather parking lot?

A: 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.

Q: What if a family member (or someone in my household) gets COVID-19 or shows symptoms? 

A: 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.

Q: I’m a health care worker at ST. Paul’s. My partner is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but has not been tested. Should I bring him in to be tested?

A: Provincial testing guidelines for health care workers do not include their family members. The BCCDC advises that individuals with mild symptoms do not need to be tested. They can self-isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days after the onset of symptoms. If symptoms worsen, use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool (​) to determine next steps.

Q: How sick is too sick to come to work?

A: 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 Mar 27, 2020 7:56pm PDT