COVID-19 Testing: Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: April 28, 2021
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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 811 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.

Can my family member be tested at the same time?

No. An appointment is for one person only. Additional family members must complete their own COVID-19 Self-assessment or call 811.

Can I take public transit to my testing appointment?

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.

What do I need to bring with me?

Please bring your confirmation number and health card with you, along with a non-medical mask to wear and a provincial health card, student ID or military ID, if you have one.

Do I have to wear a mask during my appointment?

Yes. Please wear a non-medical mask to your testing appointment, whether that appointment is inside an assessment centre or at a drive-through location.

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 wear a non-medical mask. Walk-ups are unsafe and, therefore, not permitted.

Can I bring my pet with me? 

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

Can I bring a support person to my appointment with me?

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. Siblings not permitted without a booked appointment.

My child is being tested. What do I need to know?

  • A nose swab will be used for infants and young children (under 4 years old) or when a child/youth cannot swish and gargle. 
  • 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.

How and when will I receive my COVID test results?

When Nova Scotians come for their testing appointment at a COVID-19 testing 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.
You’ll be able to receive your results in four ways:
  1. E-mail auto-notifications require the person to have a valid provincial health card and provide an email address.
  2. Auto-call notifications can be provided to those with any valid provincial health card or a student number.
  3. Check your test results online with any valid provincial health card or student number. 
  4. Phone call from Public Health or their partners at Service Nova Scotia for those who do not have a health card or student ID. 
In most cases, Nova Scotians will receive their test result within 24-72 hours. If you have been waiting for COVID-19 PCR test results for more than 72 hours please call Public Health at 1-844-996-0694.
Nova Scotians who have been tested should have their health card or identification number ready. They will be asked to enter the last four digits to receive their result. Those with an Ontario health card should enter the last four numbers that appear before the letters on their card.
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-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; please answer those calls.
If a patient cannot be reached after receiving an email and two auto-calls or by phone, and they have not accessed their results online, they will be contacted by staff from Public Health or Service Nova Scotia.

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

Receiving an email does not automatically mean your test result is negative.