New eligibility rules for COVID-19 testing take effect Friday

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Local testing and assessment centres and hospitals say they are pivoting quickly to follow new eligibility rules for PCR testing.

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Announced Thursday by the province’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore, the new rules take effect Friday, Dec. 31.

You can now only get a PCR test if you have at least one COVID-19 symptom and you are:

  • a hospitalized patient
  • a patient in a hospital emergency department
  • a patient-facing health-care worker; a staff member, volunteer, resident, visitor, patient or essential care worker in a hospital or congregate living setting (including long-term care and retirement homes); homeless or under-housed
  • an outpatient being considered for COVID-19 treatment
  • an elementary or secondary school student or staff who has received a PCR self-collection kit from your school
  • or you have been exposed, or a close contact of someone exposed, to a confirmed or suspected outbreak in a high-risk setting.

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Some people without COVID-19 symptoms are eligible for PCR testing, including those who are:

  • First Nation community members
  • unvaccinated and being admitted to a hospital or congregate living setting
  • exposed or been a close contact of someone exposed to an outbreak in a high-risk setting
  • or in a hospital, long-term care home or other congregate living setting, as directed by public health officials.

Local testing locations can be found at this website .

If you’re not eligible for PCR testing but have symptoms, the local health unit advises you isolate within your household for five days if fully vaccinated or under the age of 12, or isolate for 10 days if not fully vaccinated or immuno-compromised. If exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow the guidelines at .

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