COVID-19 Testing

Getting tested is important whether you have no symptoms, a few symptoms or even just one.
Public Health encourages all Nova Scotians to get tested regularly as one of the ways to live safely with COVID-19 and protect your community.
Please choose one of the following options. Additional information on self-isolation, receiving results and related subjects is below.

I have COVID-19 symptoms

Get assessment

I have NO COVID-19 symptoms but want to be tested

Learn more

I was at a potential exposure site

Get assessment

I am a rotational worker

Get Assessment

Additional Testing Information

For updated information on Coronavirus visit www.novascotia.ca/coronavirus and www.canada.ca/coronavirus

I require a COVID-19 test for essential work 

If you require a COVID-19 test for essential work or travel, visit: praxes.ca/covidtest/

I am an Nova Scotia Health or IWK worker

Nova Scotia Health and IWK employees can visit the latest return to work dates for health care workers at COVID exposure locations 

What do I need to know about self-isolation?

Directions for self-isolation may vary slightly for each person, based on their personal situation.

Learn more about when you need to get tested and when you need to self isolate here.

Assessment centre locations

Central Nova Scotia (Halifax Regional Municipality, Eastern Shore and West Hants areas)

  • Dartmouth - Burnside Dartmouth Crossing - Former Bouclair, 72 Finnian Row DIRECTIONS
    • ​​Open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:10 p.m. every day
       
  • ​Dartmouth - Dartmouth General Hospital Drive Through DIRECTIONS
    (​Note: Behind Dartmouth General Hospital off Mount Hope Avenue)
    • Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day
       
  • Halifax - Bayers Lake 41 Washmill Lake Drive, 4th Floor DIRECTIONS
    • ​Open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:10 p.m. every day 
       
  • Halifax - Multi-purpose room - corner of Young and Windsor street - 6210 Young Street DIRECTIONS
    • Open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:10 p.m. every day
       
  • Halifax - Saint Mary's University - Homburg Centre DIRECTIONS
    • Open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:10 p.m. every day
       
  • Middle Musquodoboit - Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital DIRECTIONS
    • ​Open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day  (closed on holidays)
       
  • Musquodoboit Harbour - Twin Oaks Memorial Hospital DIRECTIONS
    • ​​​Open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day (closed on holidays)
       
  • Sheet Harbour - Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital DIRECTIONS
    • ​Open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day (closed on holidays)

Eastern Nova Scotia (Cape Breton, Antigonish and Guysborough areas)

  • Antigonish - Antigonish Market Square, 149 Church St. Unit 686 DIRECTIONS
    • ​​Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  
       
  • Baddeck - Victoria County Memorial Hospital DIRECTIONS
    • ​​Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday 
       
  • Canso - Eastern Memorial Hospital DIRECTIONS
    • ​​​Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday 
       
  • Cheticamp - Sacred Heart Community Health Centre DIRECTIONS
    • ​​​Open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 12 to 4 p.m. Wednesday. 
       
  • Evanston - Strait Richmond Hospital DIRECTIONS
    • ​​​​Open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday.
       
  • Inverness - Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital DIRECTIONS
    • ​​​​Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and 12 to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. 
       
  • Neil's Harbour - Buchanan Memorial Community Health Centre DIRECTIONS
    • ​​​​Open from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 
       
  • North Sydney - Northside General Hospital DIRECTIONS
    • ​​​​​Open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Mon and Tues and 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 
       
  • Sydney - Grand Lake Road Fire Hall DIRECTIONS
    • ​​Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day 

Northern Nova Scotia (Colchester, Cumberland, Pictou County, and East Hants areas)

  • Amherst - 34 Prince Arthur street DIRECTIONS
    • ​​​​Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day 
       
  • New Glasgow - Pictou County Assessment Centre 678 East River Road DIRECTIONS
    • ​​​​​Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day 
       
  • Truro - Seniors Clinic (at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre) 625 Abenaki Rd DIRECTIONS
    (NOTE:  Do not use the main entrance from the upper parking lot. Follow signage to the Seniors Clinic entrance from the lower parking lot) 
    • ​Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday 
       
  • Truro - Truro Farmers Market DIRECTIONS
    • Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 

Western Nova Scotia (Annapolis Valley, South West and South Shore areas)

  • Berwick - Berwick Fire Hall DIRECTIONS
    • Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 7 days a week 
       
  • Bridgewater - Gateway Plaza DIRECTIONS
    • Open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
       
  • Digby - Digby Station DIRECTIONS
    • ​Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
       
  • ​Liverpool - 157 School Street DIRECTIONS
    • Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
       
  • Shelburne - Roseway Hospital DIRECTIONS
    • ​​Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday 
       
  • Wolfville - Acadia University Club DIRECTIONS
    • ​​​Open every day from  8 a.m. to 8p.m. 7 days a week
       
  • Yarmouth - Visitor Information Centre DIRECTIONS
    • ​Open every day from  9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday 

What if I need help arranging transportation to my testing appointment?

If you have symptoms and are getting tested you can walk, drive or cycle to your testing appointment. Do not take the bus or ferry. 

In some cases Nova Scotia Health can arrange transportation for people who have no other means. If you need help with transportation, please call Nova Scotia Health at 1-844-996-0694 to book your appointment and to arrange transportation. This will allow enhanced cleaning procedures to be put in place by the transportation provider.

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 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
There are steps they need to complete BEFORE having the test. 
 
Children or youth must not: eat, drink, chew gum, brush teeth, smoke or vape for at least one hour before the test. 
 
Younger children do best when they practice the steps at home with water; just make sure if you do choose to have your child practice that it is done at least two hours before the test. 
 
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. 
 
During the procedure, the child and youth must wear their mask while swishing and gargling.
 
Note that if a child or youth does have difficulty completing the gargle test, the test cannot be repeated that day – they would have to be tested via swab collection or rebooked for a gargle test at a later date.

What will happen when I get my standard COVID-19 test?

Thanks for doing your part to keep yourself and your fellow Nova Scotians safe and healthy.
There are a few different types of COVID-19 tests in Nova Scotia: standard PCR* tests, gargle tests and rapid tests. The standard PCR test is the most accurate of these three types of tests. Here’s what you can expect if you have booked a PCR test.
 
Arrival
  • If you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, you can walk, drive, cycle or take a taxi to your testing appointment. Do not take the bus or ferry. If you are booked for an asymptomatic test, you are welcome to take public transit if you wish.
  • It is recommended that only the person receiving the COVID-19 test should be in the testing site.
  • Children and youth (under 19 years old) who are being tested may have one support person.
  • Pets are not allowed in in any testing site (including drive-through locations). Service dogs are permitted.  
  • Arrive for your booked appointment no more than five minutes early.
  • If you have a provincial health card, student ID or military ID, have it ready.
  • At all locations (except drive-through locations) you’ll be asked to sanitize your hands when you enter. You’ll also be given a medical mask to wear in place of your non-medical mask.
  • A team member will then tell you what to do next.
Registration 
  • The team member at registration will ask you to confirm your full name, birth date, health card or other ID number, email (if you have one) and phone number. It is important your phone number and email are correct as this will be how you will be reached for your results. Currently, results are only available by email for those with a valid Nova Scotia health card.
  • They will then provide directions about what happens next.
Swab Testing
  • When it’s your turn to be tested, you’ll be asked to sanitize your hands again.
  • The nurse will ask you a few basic questions and will then explain what they are about to do.
  • You’ll be asked to slide your mask under your nose, keeping your mouth covered. 
  • The nurse will ask you to turn toward them and tip your head back slightly. 
  • They will insert the swab into one side of your nose and tell you to take a breath.
  • You will feel slight discomfort as the nurse counts for between five to 10 seconds. The nurse will then remove the swab.
  • Your eye may water a bit at first. Your nostril may be sensitive for a few seconds and you may sneeze or cough.
  • That’s it! You’re finished. Staff will direct you to exit the building (or the drive-through).
Gargle Testing for Children
  • Children between the ages of 4 and 18 may be offered a gargle test. There are steps they need to complete BEFORE having the test. For detailed preparation instructions, please view the gargle instruction sheet (PDF). If for any reason a gargle test isn't suitable for someone, a swab will be provided. Testing centre staff will help advise.
  • A nose swab will be used for infants and young children (under 4 years old) or when a child/youth cannot swish and gargle. 
*PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction – this type of test looks for trace amounts of the COVID-19 virus to identify positive cases

What happens after my COVID-19 test?

For people with symptoms only: Once you have completed your COVID-19 test, you must self-isolate until you have received your result. 

Learn more about when you need to get tested and when you need to self-isolate here.

For instructions on how to self-isolate please see https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/symptoms-and-testing/#testing   

How do I receive my results?

When Nova Scotians come for their testing appointment at a COVID-19 primary assessment centre or mobile testing unit, they will be asked at registration for their email and/or phone number, as well as a health card or identification number. 

E-mail auto-notifications require the person to have a valid Nova Scotia health card (MSI).

Auto-call notifications can be provided to those with any valid provincial health card, or a student or military identification number.

In most cases, Nova Scotians will receive their test result within 72 hours.

Nova Scotians who have been tested should have their health card or identification number ready. They will be asked to enter the last four numbers to receive their result. Email results may be received 24 hours a day. Please check your “Junk” and “Other Inbox” folders for your negative test results. Look for an email from noreply@nshealth.ca

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 will indicate unknown name, unknown number; please answer those calls. Please also have your health card or identification ready.

If a patient cannot be reached after receiving an email and two auto-calls, they will contacted by staff from Public Health or Service Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Health has partnered with Service Nova Scotia to help deliver negative test results. 

Staff will also phone those who do not have a valid provincial health card or student/military identification. 

Receiving a phone call does not automatically mean your test result was positive. 

Public Health will continue to make calls to those who test positive and will provide any additional instruction needed.

Learn more about Getting Your Test Results (.pdf)

Learn more