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COVID-19 Rapid Testing

If you are at higher risk for severe illness and you have even one symptom of respiratory illness, Nova Scotia Health recommends booking a PCR appointment for a COVID-19 and influenza test, or calling 1-833-797-7772 for assistance. Rapid tests do not detect influenza.

Rapid antigen testing (rapid tests) is a common tool for Nova Scotians to determine if they have COVID-19, helping to reduce the spread in our communities. You are encouraged to have rapid tests on hand in case symptoms develop.

If you have a positive rapid test or book a PCR test, please complete the online Report and Support form as accurately as possible, or call 1-833-797-7772 if you require assistance completing the form. Please note: COVID-19 treatments do not benefit everyone. You will only be contacted if you qualify for medication or follow-up. If you do not qualify, you will not be called.

Nova Scotia Health asks anyone who has symptoms to book an appointment online for a PCR test or to pick up rapid tests.

Rapid test quick facts

  • Rapid tests are safe, easy to use, and provide results within 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Rapid tests can be done at home by using the swab in the kit to collect a sample from each nostril and sometimes your throat, depending on the test that you are using.
  • It is very important to read the instructions carefully for the specific rapid test you are using because there are small differences between different types.
  • Rapid tests can be used for all ages. 
  • We do not provide documentation of your rapid test results. If you require documentation for travel or work-related reasons, please contact a private company.
  • A positive rapid test is considered a positive case of COVID-19 – no further testing is required.
  • If you begin to experience new or worsening symptoms within 90 days of testing positive, follow the instructions here.
  • COVID-19 rapid tests that are expired should be disposed of, as they may no longer provide an accurate result. Tests can be disposed of per your local waste management guidelines.  
  • COVID-19 rapid tests do not test for influenza (flu) or RSV. 

Rapid test instructions

Find instructions below for each type of rapid test. To identify the type of test you have, look at the outside packaging, one of these brands will be on the package.

FlowFlex Instructions 
English | En français

BTNX Instructions
English | En français 

Nova Scotia Health does not provide rapid test kits or on-site asymptomatic testing for private or public events. For individual access to rapid tests, visit one of the community drop-in locations below.

Community access to rapid tests

Nova Scotia Health provides access to rapid tests in communities across the province. Nova Scotians can pick up rapid test kits at the following drop-in locations.

With the exception of the Public Health Mobile Unit, please do not visit any of these pick-up locations if you are feeling sick. Ask someone else to pick up a test kit for you so that you have some on-hand.

Libraries, Family Resource Centres and MLA Offices

Rapid test kits are available at participating public libraries, some family resource centres, and all MLA offices. Visit the links below for locations, hours of operation and closures:

Find Your Local MLA Office

Find Your Local Library

Public Health Mobile Unit

Public Health Mobile Units (PHMU) provide another way for community members to access take-home rapid test kits with or without an appointment. If you require a test because you are experiencing symptoms, you may wish to book an appointment to ensure the type of test you need will be available, however drop-ins are welcome for both PCR tests and rapid test pick-up.

Learn more here.

Access Nova Scotia

Rapid test kits are available to anyone in-person services of Access Nova Scotia.

Find Your Local Access Nova Scotia Location

Accessing Primary Care

There are many ways to access primary care, even if you're not currently attached to a primary care provider.

Answer a few quick questions to receive personalized instructions for accessing Nova Scotia Health's primary care options near you including in-person, virtual and telephone options.

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Find Emergency Care

Use this tool to identify the emergency care options that are currently available nearest to you.

If this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance

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YourHealthNS App

Much of Nova Scotia's healthcare program and service information is now available on the YourHealthNS mobile app. Download for free on the Apple Store and Android Apps for Google Play.

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