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COVID-19 and Flu Testing

If you have any one symptom of COVID-19 or influenza, you should test. You can book your test online at

Book a COVID and flu test

If you need help booking, please call 1-833-797-7772.

You can find the locations and hours of operations for Nova Scotia Health's COVID-19 and flu testing locations here

Find a testing location

Martha Lowe performs a COVID test at the DGH drive through testing centre.

If you are at risk of severe disease, or meet the criteria for PCR testing, it is recommended to get a PCR test as soon as you can. This is important because you may be eligible for early treatment to prevent severe disease if you test positive.

Appointments are required for PCR tests and to pick up rapid test kits at COVID-19 and flu testing locations in Nova Scotia. Please arrive no more than 5 minutes before your appointment time. When picking up test kits for someone else, including children, the appointment must be in their name, and their physical health card must be presented on pick-up.

COVID-19 Rapid Tests

During summer 2024, community rapid test distribution will pause while decisions are made about what the future of the program will look like. We expect to have more information in the fall. 

Rapid tests are still available through Nova Scotia Health’s COVID-19 and Influenza testing locations by appointment. If you are at higher risk for severe illness, Nova Scotia Health recommends booking a PCR appointment for COVID-19 or influenza. Rapid tests do not detect influenza.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you can still use rapid tests that you have at home. Please check the box for an expiry date before use. To dispose of expired tests, put the contents in the garbage and compost the boxes.

Nova Scotia Health does not provide bulk distribution of rapid tests for special events. 

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 

Am I eligible for a PCR test?

The following groups are eligible for PCR testing in Nova Scotia:

1. People who have symptoms AND are one of the following:

  • 50 years and over
  • Unvaccinated (less than full vaccine series) and age 12 or older
  • Live or work in the following group living  settings:
    • Long-term care home
    • Residential care facilities
    • Corrections
    • Shelters and transition houses
    • Acute care settings
    • Entering a Disability Support Program facility
  • First Nations 
  • African Nova Scotians (18 and over)
  • Front line and community Health Care Workers with direct patient care and First Responders.  Frontline and community healthcare workers who work directly with patients include: doctors, nurses, paramedics, other hospital employees and continuing care assistants who provide direct patient care, dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and denturists, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants. Please bring your staff ID to your testing appointment.
  • Adults 18-49 year with one or more risk factors for severe disease:
    • Obesity (Body Mass Index >30 kg/m2)
    • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus     
    • Chronic lung disease, including poorly controlled asthma (e.g. on medication or hospitalization within the past 12 months)
    • Chronic kidney disease, including those on dialysis
    • Down Syndrome
    • Motor Neuron Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis, Huntington’s Disease
    • Immunocompromised or receiving immunosuppressive therapy
  • Children and youth under age 18 with any of the following conditions:
    • History of prematurity < 29 weeks
    • Chronic lung disease including chronic lung disease of prematurity, cystic fibrosis, and severe asthma
    • Down Syndrome
    • Motor Neuron Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis
    • Obesity (Body Mass Index >30kg/m2)
  • Pregnant
  • People who cannot perform a rapid test at home and require help due to a developmental, intellectual or physical disability.

2. Testing required for medical procedure

Who is considered high risk?

The evidence around individuals who are most at risk for severe disease continues to evolve, and this list may be updated as evidence unfolds. The greatest single risk factor for severe disease is advanced age. Individuals who have certain medical conditions, especially if they have multiple medical conditions, are also at increased risk. Healthy children are not at increased risk for severe disease.

The following people, particularly if unvaccinated or vaccinated but not boosted, are at increased risk of severe disease:

  • Older adults (increasing risk with each decade, especially over 60 years)
  • Pregnant persons
  • Any age and living with:
    • lung disease
    • heart disease
    • diabetes
    • kidney disease
    • liver disease
    • dementia
    • cancer
    • neurodevelopmental conditions (such as Down Syndrome)
    • sickle cell disease
    • neurological conditions (e.g., epilepsy, stroke)
    • immunocompromised status, including those taking medications which lower the immune system, such as chemotherapy
    • obesity (body mass index equal to or greater than 30)

How do I prepare my child for a gargle test?



Children or youth between the ages of 4 and 18 years old may be able to have the gargle test if they qualify for PCR and are able to:

  • swish salty water in the mouth for 5 seconds, then
  • gargle with the salty water for 5 seconds, and repeat both steps 2 more times (total time of 30 seconds), then
  • spit the salty water into a container 

For detailed preparation instructions, please view the gargle instruction sheet (PDF) 

It is extremely important that children and youth who are using the gargle testing method follow these guidelines, as failure to do so will require them to have their COVID-19 test via swab collection. 

Note: Gargle tests do not screen for influenza

What happens after my COVID-19 and flu test?

For people with symptoms: Stay home when sick, avoid higher risk people and places, and wear a mask when in indoor public places even with mild cold-or flu-like (respiratory) symptoms.

For people who test positive for COVID-19: Follow the directions for those who test positive here. For the 7 days after symptoms start or you test positive (if no symptoms), avoid high-risk people and places, and wear a mask when away from home.

How do I receive my PCR test results?

When people come for their testing appointment, they will be asked at registration for their email and phone number, as well as a health card or student identification number. You may also receive a registration number when you book your test. Please see below if you don’t have a health card or student card – you are still able to get a test and treatment, if needed.

For COVID-19 results:

If you have a valid provincial health card, you’ll be able to receive your COVID-19 test results in the following ways:

  • E-mail auto-notifications

    Email results may be received 24 hours a day. Please check your “Junk” and “Other Inbox” folders for your test results. Look for an email from

  • Auto-call notifications

    Auto-calls may occur daily between noon and 5 p.m. It’s important that people keep their phones with them and on if they are expecting a test result. The caller ID may indicate unknown name, unknown number or a long-distance/out-of-province number; please answer those calls.

  • Online at

    If you do not have a health card or student ID, you can access results online using the registration number you received when you booked your test, if applicable.

    If you do not have a health card, student ID, registration number, or if it has been longer than 48 hours since your test and your results are not available through one of the above methods, please complete the Report and Support form so you can be assessed for medications. If you qualify, a Nova Scotia Health team member will contact you to discuss your treatment options. 

Those who have been tested should have their health card (any province except Ontario) or identification number ready. They will be asked to enter the last four digits to receive their result. People with an Ontario health card should enter the last four numbers that appear before the letters on their card.

For influenza results:

Those who test positive for influenza and may also benefit from anti-viral medication may receive a call from your primary care provider or a member of Nova Scotia Health’s pharmacy therapeutics team to discuss your treatment option.

COVID-19 and Flu Testing: Frequently Asked Questions

Will I receive confirmation of my appointment?

Yes. Immediately after booking your appointment, you will receive an email confirmation from This confirmation will include important instructions about your appointment – please read carefully. 

If you don’t receive this confirmation, please check your “Junk” and “Other Inbox” folders.

What if I need to cancel or reschedule my appointment?

If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, you can do that online. Your appointment email will include a link to reschedule or cancel if needed.

If you booked your appointment over the phone, and you need to cancel or reschedule, please contact Nova Scotia Health at 1-833-797-7772 and follow the instructions.

Can my family member be tested at the same time?

No, an appointment is for one person only. Additional appointments can be booked online or by calling 1-833-797-7772.

Do I have to wear a mask during my appointment?

Masks are encouraged in all COVID-19 testing locations.

How early should I arrive for my appointment?

Please arrive no more than five minutes before your scheduled appointment time.

Can I walk up to a drive-through clinic to be tested?

For drive-through services, you must be in a vehicle and wearing a mask. Walk-ups are unsafe and not allowed.

Can I bring my pet with me? 

Pets are not allowed in any testing site, including drive-through. Service animals are allowed. 

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