If you have any one symptom of COVID-19, you should test. You can book your test online at covidbooking.nshealth.ca.
Book a COVID 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 testing sites here
Find a testing site
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 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.
Other Testing Options
If you do not have symptoms, you can pick up rapid tests without an appointment at a Public Health Mobile Unit or community distribution sites around the province.
Please complete the Report and Support form when you book a PCR test or have a positive rapid test. The form can be completed online, or by phone at 1-833-797-7772 if you require assistance. 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.
Public Health Mobile Units are another way for Nova Scotians to access PCR testing, or to pick up a box of rapid tests to take home. Drop-in and booked appointments are welcome. Find upcoming clinics here.
You can find out what your options are for tests needed for travel purposes here.
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
- 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)
- 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
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- 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)
What if I need help arranging transportation to or can't get into the testing appointment?
In some cases Nova Scotia Health can arrange transportation. If you need help with this, please call Nova Scotia Health at 1-844-996-0694 to book your appointment. Nova Scotia Health will work with you to reduce the barriers for testing.
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.
What happens after my COVID-19 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 if mild cold- or flu-like (respiratory) symptoms.
For people who test positive for COVID-19: Follow the directions for those who test positive on this webpage. 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. Please see below if you don’t have a health card or student card – you are still able to get a test and received your results.
If you have a valid provincial health card, you’ll be able to receive your results in the following ways:
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 email@example.com.
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 https://c19results.nshealth.ca/
If you do not have a health card or student ID, please call 1-844-996-0694 at least 48 hours after your test. You will be asked to leave your name, phone number, date of birth and date you were tested. A member of our Public Health team will contact you with your results.
In most cases, Nova Scotians will receive their test result within 48-72 hours. If you have been waiting for COVID-19 PCR test results for more than 48 hours please call Public Health at 1-844-996-0694.
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.
Yes. Immediately after booking your appointment, you will receive an email confirmation from firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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 1-844-996-0694 and follow the instructions.
No, an appointment is for one person only. Additional appointments can be booked online or by calling 1-833-797-7772.
Yes. Masks are required in all COVID testing locations, including Public Health Mobile Units.
Please arrive no more than five minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
For drive-through services, you must be in a vehicle and wearing a mask. Walk-ups are unsafe and, therefore, not allowed.
Pets are not allowed in any testing site, including drive-through. Service dogs are allowed.