Additional community access points for rapid tests

Now that the province’s supply of rapid tests has stabilized, Nova Scotia Health is working to provide easier access to rapid tests for those who aren’t located near a testing centre. Thanks to work with partners, there are now more community access points to help distribute rapid tests to the public.

Nova Scotia Health continues to encourage anyone who has symptoms or is close contact, to go through the online assessment to book a PCR test (if eligible) or rapid test ( This remains the primary source of COVID-19 testing in Nova Scotia and remains the priority for supply. Nova Scotia Health has recently established several rapid test pick-up sites at rural health facilities in the Northern Zone. To access these, Nova Scotians still need to go through the online assessment and book an appointment. These new sites will allow those in rural communities who require a rapid test the opportunity to pick up their test closer to their own community. Similar pick-up sites will be announced soon in other zones, and this need is being assessed on a regular basis across the province.

Nova Scotians also have various ways to access rapid tests without appointments and without having to do the online assessment:

Schools – Students and staff of public, private and First Nations schools will be provided an additional supply of rapid tests for the month of February as part of the Test to Protect program.

Public Libraries and Family Resource Centres – Various locations across the province have a limited supply of rapid tests to distribute to the community. Locations have been identified where access to testing is limited. The individual distribution plans for those locations will vary. Please find your local library or resource centre online to see if they are one of the distribution sites and the schedule for pick-up. *If you have symptoms, please arrange for someone else to pick-up on your behalf so you are not potentially exposing staff to the virus.

Rapid Testing Pop-Up Sites – Pop-ups are where people can either take a rapid test on site or pick up tests to take home (limited supply). Our testing partners travel throughout the province to offer rapid testing. The schedule of locations is updated regularly and can be found here: 

Important reminders:

  • Tests are limited to one kit per person and supply is based on availability.
  • For most people, testing is only needed if you have symptoms or are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Employers and businesses should not require people to get tested.
  • Most people should not be using rapid tests regularly just to feel safe.
  • Please only get what you need so that your fellow community members will also have what they need.
  • Be kind to those giving out the rapid tests – their supply is limited and they have no control over availability.

Because our focus is on community distribution, rapid tests are no longer being given out at airports for optional testing. Halifax and Sydney airports continue to distribute take-home PCR tests for domestic travelers who are not fully vaccinated. The distribution and availability of rapid tests will continue to be reassessed as we adapt to the COVID-19 situation in our province and based on supply from the Federal government.