Nova Scotia to resume confirmation PCR testing for positive rapid tests

Nova Scotia continues to see a decline in new COVID-19 cases and therefore a lower number of PCR tests being performed. As a result, Nova Scotia Health’s microbiology lab now has the capacity to resume confirmation PCR testing for those who test positive on a COVID-19 rapid antigen test.

If people test positive on a rapid antigen test, they can now choose to either isolate as a positive case or get a confirmation PCR test. If the confirmation PCR test is negative, they are not required to isolate and can resume normal activities (as long as they have no symptoms or once their symptoms are improving and they have no fever for at least 24 hours). If their confirmation PCR test is positive, they are required to isolate as per Public Health guidelines.

The added option to have a positive rapid test confirmed with a PCR test will reduce situations in which people are isolating when they don’t need to.

Confirmation PCR COVID-19 testing was put on hold in December at the height of the Omicron surge due to the extremely high testing demands on the lab.

It is important to note this change will likely result in a higher number of reported cases, as case numbers are based on positive PCR tests, not rapid tests. This increase should be considered a more accurate picture of reported cases in Nova Scotia, rather than a reflection of a new surge of COVID-19 cases.

If you test positive on a COVID-19 rapid antigen test and want to have a confirmation PCR test, please complete the online assessment at or call 811.
– 30 –