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 July 6th, 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 July 6 2020), click here.


I don’t have any symptoms. Should I be tested?
COVID-19 testing is not recommended for asymptomatic individuals. Routine COVID-19 screening of asymptomatic people is not recommended in BC (e.g., in schools, prior to surgery or other procedures, in hospitals or healthcare settings, as a condition of employment or for travel). Medical Health Officers may recommend testing as part of public health investigations. Medical Health Officers may recommend testing for individuals who are part of a public health investigation of a case, cluster or an outbreak, regardless of symptom profile.
How do I access COVID-19 testing? 


Vancouver Acute 

Health-care workers and others should go to the Vancouver Community site (info below), the City Centre UPCC or REACH UPCC.

  • City Centre Urgent Primary Care Centre (UPCC),
    1290 Hornby Street, Vancouver
  • REACH Urgent & Primary Care Centre (UPCC),
    1145 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

​Vancouver Community (with Providence Health Care)

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 Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed on weekends starting June 27.
Please do not enter Honoria Conway​.

Downtown Eastside COVID-19 testing site, 429 Alexander Street, phone: 778-886-4081

​Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed between 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.)​​


​​North Vancouver Urgent & Primary Care Centre (UPCC), 221 West Esplanade, Suite 200, North Vancouver
​Sechelt Hospital

​Book an appointment with the assessment clinic by calling 604-740-1252.
Please leave a message with the required details as per the phone instructions. You will receive a call back to book your appointment time.
NEW HOURS - Open 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, Monday to Friday


​Richmond Assessment Centre, 6820 Gilbert Road (parking lot of the Richmond Tennis Club)​​

​​​​​Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturdays and statutory holidays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Closed Sundays

Please see the VCH intranet site for the latest testing site information. 

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 Oct 3, 2020 11:19am PDT