COVID-19 Rapid Testing
Pathology & Laboratory Services
Public Health

Rapid antigen testing has become a common tool for Nova Scotians to determine if they have COVID-19, helping to prevent further spread of the virus.

Rapid tests are safe, easy to use, and provide results within 10 to 20 minutes. Rapid tests (also referred to as Point-of-Care Tests) can be done at home by someone who is not a healthcare professional by using the swab in the kit to collect a sample from your throat and each nostril. It is very important to read the instructions carefully for the specific rapid test you are using because there are small differences between different types. Rapid tests can be used for all ages. For advice on conducting a rapid test on a child, view this document developed by the IWK - COVID-19 Rapid Testing: A Guide For Parents And Caregivers (.pdf)

Rapid test instructions

Find instructions below for each type of rapid test. To identify the type of test you have, look at the outside packaging, one of these brands will be on the package.

Community access to rapid tests

Nova Scotia Health is working to provide easier access to rapid tests for those who aren’t near a testing centre. 

Nova Scotians can now pick up rapid test kits at the following drop-in locations:

Libraries and family resource centres

Public libraries and all family resource centres are receiving a limited supply of rapid tests each week to distribute. Regional libraries are determining which of their locations will distribute and will share information on their websites. Some will have fixed locations and schedules and for others, it may vary. Please check the regional websites below to find out if your local library is distributing rapid test kits. Tests are limited to one kit per person and supply is based on availability.

People who have symptoms are asked not to go to libraries or family resource centres. If you have symptoms, ask someone else to pick up a test kit for you or have some on-hand for if this happens.

Annapolis Valley
https://www.valleylibrary.ca/

Cape Breton Regional Library
https://cbrl.ca/

Colchester-East Hants Regional
https://www.lovemylibrary.ca/

Cumberland Public Libraries
https://www.cumberlandpubliclibraries.ca/

Eastern Counties Regional Library
https://ecrl.ca/

Halifax Public Libraries
https://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/

Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library
http://www.parl.ns.ca/

South Shore Public Libraries
https://www.southshorepubliclibraries.ca/

Western County Public Library
https://westerncounties.ca/

MLA Offices

Nova Scotians can visit their local MLA’s office during business hours to pick up a box of rapid tests. There is a limit of one box per person. A box contains five tests.

Find Your Local MLA Office

Those who are using the services of the following organizations will be offered rapid test kits:

Access Nova Scotia

People visiting Access Nova Scotia for in-person services will be offered a package of rapid tests.

Find Your Local Access Nova Scotia Location

Feed Nova Scotia

Anyone accessing programs or services at any of the Feed Nova Scotia’s 140 sites across the province will receive testing kits.

Find Your Local Food Bank

Pop-up testing sites

Rapid testing pop-up sites are where people can either take a rapid test onsite or pick up a test kit to take home. Pop-ups visit areas across the province here access to testing is limited (far from testing centres) or where there is a higher rate of COVID cases. No screening or assessment is required to access tests through the pop-ups and testing is available to all ages. Tests are limited to one kit per person and supply is based availability.

Rapid testing pop-up schedule​​​​

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

  • Halifax Central Library (home test kits only), 5440 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax (DIRECTIONS) from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Alderney Gate Building (in-person testing and home test kits), 60 Alderney Dr, Dartmouth (DIRECTIONS) from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

  • Halifax Central Library (home test kits only), 5440 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax (DIRECTIONS) from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

  • Halifax Central Library (home test kits only), 5440 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax (DIRECTIONS) from 10:00p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Alderney Gate Building (in-person testing and home test kits), 60 Alderney Dr, Dartmouth (DIRECTIONS) from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm

Sunday, July 3, 2022

  • Halifax Central Library (home test kits only), 5440 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax (DIRECTIONS) from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 

Find information for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 on a rapid test at https://www.nshealth.ca/testedpositiveforcovid

You will receive a text with your negative result. If you do not receive your negative result, please reply to the text you received upon registration for rapid testing.

It’s important to note: A negative result on the rapid test is not a guarantee. You could still develop or be exposed to COVID-19 in the coming days. As such, it’s important to continue to protect yourself and others by continuing to wear a mask, washing your hands, maintaining social/physical distance and sticking to a small social bubble.

Please be aware that due to high volumes, you may experience a long wait outside. Please dress for conditions. People with mobility challenges may wish to pre-book appointments at standard COVID-19 testing centres.

Important Reminders

  • It is important that you follow the instructions for the brand or type of test.
  • We do not provide documentation of your rapid test results. If you require documentation for travel or work-related reasons, please contact a private company. (https://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus-home/i-need-covid-test-travel)
  • Rapid testing is approved for all ages; for infants and children please adjust the way you use the test for the smaller nostril size as indicated on the testing instructions.
  • A positive rapid test is now considered a positive case of COVID-19 – no further testing is required, however, you do have the option of booking a confirmation PCR test. To do this, complete the online assessment at https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en
  • If you have a positive rapid test, self-isolate immediately, report your positive test online at https://c19hc.nshealth.ca/self-report/ and follow the online instructions found here: https://www.nshealth.ca/testedpositiveforcovid
  • You may continue to test positive for up to 90 days after your recovery, even though you are no longer infectious. Therefore, do not test during this period (unless directed to by a healthcare professional).

Nova Scotia Health continues to ask anyone who has symptoms to go through the online assessment to book a PCR test (if eligible) or rapid test (https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en).