COVID Testing

POWELL RIVER COVID-19 INFO

COVID Testing

NOTE! If you are having difficulty breathing or are experiencing any other severe symptoms, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY or go to Emergency at the Hospital.

If you have symptoms, scroll down to request a COVID-19 test at the supported self-testing clinic. We appreciate your patience as we deal with a high volume of testing requests.

COVID-19 TESTING INFORMATION

Residents of Powell River and the qathet Regional District are now able to receive COVID-19 testing at the supported self-testing clinic BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.  For those who need to see a doctor, emergency testing remains available at the Emergency Department of the Hospital 24/7. Rapid tests are not available at this time.

NEED A COVID-19 TEST?

To get tested for COVID-19 in Powell River, please follow these steps:

  1. Only those with COVID-19 symptoms should get tested. Use the BC Self-Assessment Tool to help determine whether you should get a test.
  2. Request an appointment by filling out the form below (preferred). If you are unable to book online, you may also call (604) 485-2028 between 9am and 2pm Monday – Friday (except stat holidays). 
  3. Once we have received your request, a clinic staff member will call you to inform you of the time of your appointment. Please be patient, as the volume of testing requests is currently high.
  4. Arrive at the testing site in time for your appointment. Follow on-site instructions and prepare to complete the test in your vehicle. There will be a Medical Office Assistant (MOA) on-site to assist you with the collection of your sample.
  5. Self-isolate until you have received your results. Scroll down to the FAQs for more information on what to do after your COVID-19 test.

LOCATION

The supported self-testing site is located at the rear parking lot (3rd floor parking lot) of the Powell River General Hospital, accessed from Kiwanis Avenue near Willingdon Creek Village (see map here). There is signage directing you to the clinic from Joyce Avenue.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  • The supported self-testing model includes a saline gargle test in a kit that will be available at your scheduled appointment time.
  • NO DOCTOR OR NURSE IS PRESENT AT THE TESTING CLINIC. If you need to speak with someone about your symptoms or need an exam, please contact your family physician. If your symptoms are severe, please go to the Emergency Department for testing.
  • In the hour leading up to collecting your sample, please do NOT eat, drink, chew gum, smoke/vape, vomit, or brush your teeth, as this affects the reliability of your sample, and your appointment will need to be rescheduled. Children under 5, and others who are not able to complete the saline gargle test, will be required to get tested through the Emergency Department at the Hospital.
  • We recommend that you review the video below ahead of your appointment, so you know what to expect.
  • If you are bringing a school-aged child to the supported self-testing clinic, please watch this video to prepare them.

    Residents of Texada Island: Please call 604-486-7525 to book a test if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. COVID testing is being offered at the Texada clinic Monday through Friday.

                                                                                                    —

    NASAL SWAB TESTING IS AVAILABLE AT THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT AT POWELL RIVER GENERAL HOSPITAL. Get tested here if you have severe symptoms or need to see a doctor. Please register at the front desk.

REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT

APPOINTMENT REQUEST FORM

* Please provide the best phone number for us to reach you at to schedule an appointment. In addition, please ensure that the number is one where we can leave a message requesting a call back if we are unable to reach you.

APPOINTMENT CONFIRMATION

By submitting the above information, I confirm the following:

We will contact you by phone to let you know next steps. If you don’t receive a call back on the business day following your request submission, please call us at 604-485-2028 between 9am and 2pm Monday thru Friday (except stat holidays).

SHOULD I GET TESTED?

Use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to be tested for COVID-19. A COVID-19 test is recommended if:

  • You had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and have developed new symptoms. 
  • You are experiencing new or worsening symptoms that require testing.  

If you have 1 or more of these key symptoms, seek testing:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Difficulty breathing

If you have 2 or more of the symptoms below for more than 24 hours, and they are not related to any other pre-existing conditions, seek testing. These symptoms are:

  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea 

ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING

PLEASE NOTE: The hospital and the testing site at the supported self-testing clinic are focused on testing for people who have symptoms, or those who are directed by a health care provider to get a COVID test prior to a scheduled procedure.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Though travel of any kind is strongly discouraged at this time, we recognize there may be essential reasons for travel. If you require a COVID test for international travel, you can access self-pay testing directly at YVR (for more information visit https://www.yvr.ca/en/passengers/travel-planning/takecare/covid-19-testing) and in Vancouver en route to YVR with Life Labs that offer self-pay options.

WORK-RELATED TESTING

If an employer requires a COVID test for an asymptomatic employee (i.e. that employee does not have any symptoms), the employer is responsible for arranging private testing. At this time the only option for self-pay testing would be in a larger community with Life Labs en route to your work site. (For example, some employers organize swabs onsite, which get shipped to private labs). Private testing avoids placing additional burden on B.C.’s public testing resources, which are in high demand due to the ongoing pandemic and record-breaking testing and infection numbers.

Employees who are tested under these circumstances are required to self-isolate until test results are available.

Please note that Public Health does not support asymptomatic testing at this time, including for work-related reasons, unless directed by a Public Health official. People having issues with employer requests, or employers who have questions, are welcome to contact us, and we can try to provide additional support.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you are having difficulty breathing or are experiencing any other severe symptoms, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY or go to Emergency at the Hospital. If your symptoms are not severe, but you do have symptoms on this list please make an appointment to get tested. You can do that by filling out the form on this page (preferred), or calling (604) 485-2028 between 9am and 3pm Monday thru Friday (excluding stat holidays).

The supported self-testing clinic for COVID-19 is located in the rear parking lot (3rd floor parking lot) of the Powell River General Hospital, accessed from Kiwanis Avenue near Willingdon Creek Village (see map here). Please wear a mask when you come to complete your testing kit. Please avoid using public transportation if possible, including taxis or ride-sharing. If you are on foot, please inform the Medical Office Assistant at the time of scheduling your appointment and follow instructions provided at that time. This a drive-thru clinic, so please drive up to the clinic and prepare to complete your test in your vehicle. 

Please bring your health card and one piece of identification.

  • SELF ISOLATE. Return home and avoid contact with others while you wait for your test result.
  • If you test positive, public health will contact you.
  • If you are a health care provider, please contact your employer or follow your organization's process.

  • Text Message: Sign up to get a negative result by text directly to your cell phone here.
  • Online: Go to myehealth.ca.
  • Call: BCCDC’s COVID-19 Negative Results line (1-833-707-2792). Open from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM daily.

Self-isolate and let your close contacts know. Report your positive result here.

If you are managing your illness at home you can end isolation when all three of these conditions are met:
  1. Fully vaccinated: At least 5 days have passed since your symptoms started, or from test date if you did not have symptoms. You should wear a mask even in settings where a mask isn’t required and avoid higher risk settings, such as long term care facilities and gatherings, for another 5 days after ending isolation. Fully vaccinated means you received both doses of a 2-dose series (e.g. AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna vaccine) or it has been more than 14 days since you received a single dose of a 1-dose series (e.g. Janssen/ Johnson and Johnson).
    Not fully vaccinated: 
    At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms started, or from the day you tested positive if you did not have symptoms.

  2. Fever has resolved for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. 

  3. Symptoms have improved.
Continue to isolate for longer if you have a fever or are not feeling better. 

You may stop self-isolating once you feel well enough to return to regular activities unless:
  • You are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 and you are not fully vaccinated. If you have been exposed to someone who is confirmed to have been infectious with COVID-19 and you are not fully vaccinated or had COVID-19 within the last 90 days, continue to self-isolate for 10 days from your last contact with the person who had COVID-19, even if your test is negative.
  • You have been instructed to self-isolate by public health or by someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and may have exposed you.
  • You recently arrived in B.C. from outside of Canada. You must continue to isolate for 14 days from the day you landed back in Canada. There are some exemptions for fully vaccinated travellers who are permitted to enter Canada and who meet specific conditions. Learn more about vaccinated travellers entering Canada.
If your symptoms get worse, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1. 

Approximately 24-48 hours, but they can take up to 72 hours. Please self-isolate while waiting for results, and once your test result has been confirmed follow the instructions under "what should I do if I test positive?" or "what should I do if I test negative?" as appropriate.

A supported self-test means that there is no doctor or nurse that is supervising the collection of your sample. There will be a Medical Office Assistant (MOA) at the supported self-testing clinic to provide you with your testing kit and information on how to collect your test. You are then able to collect your sample in your car or at the designated location on-site. This testing model offers a sustainable solution to the additional demands that have been put on our healthcare workers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to offer Powell River and qathet residents the opportunity to be part of this progressive method of COVID-19 testing. Research has shown that this test is as effective as the nasal swab, and often more comfortable to administer.

This test is a supported self-administered saline gargle test. We ask that you do your best not to eat, drink, smoke, vape, chew gum, brush your teeth, or vomit in the one hour leading up to the self-administered gargle test. Please do not practice gargling in the two hours leading up to your test. Research has shown this is necessary to ensure the test provides an accurate and reliable result.

 

You will pick up your testing kit from a staff member once you arrive at the clinic. You will be able to return to your vehicle to collect your sample or complete your test in a designated on-site location. Your testing kit will include everything you need to complete your test as well as instructions on how to do so.

The steps to collecting your sample are:
  1. Squeeze the tube of saline water into your mouth. Be sure not to swallow the water, and keep in mind the water will be salty.
  2. Swish the water around in your mouth for 5 seconds.
  3. Tip your head back and gargle the water for 5 seconds. 
  4. Repeat steps 2-3, alternating swishing and gargling 2 more times. 
  5. Spit the salty water into the funnel-shaped container. 
  6. Place your sample back in the bag and return your testing kit to the staff at the self-testing clinic.

Please reference this video if you have a school-aged child that will be receiving a testing kit. This is the video with instructions for adults.

You do not need a family doctor to get a COVID-19 test.

However, if you don’t have a primary care provider and you would like to get connected to one:

  • Some clinics are accepting new patients: Call (604) 485-6261 (family doctor), (604) 485-2430 or (604) 485-9213 (nurse practitioner)
  • Call (604) 485-5501 for a virtual appointment at the walk-in clinic (also accepting new patients for ongoing care by request)
  • The nurse practitioner at the Tla’amin Health Centre is accepting all First Nations people in the region - call (604) 483-3009
  • Texada residents, call (604) 486-7525
  • Youth can visit divisionsbc.ca/pr/docs4youth

Yes. However, we kindly ask that if you have the ability to perform the gargle test, you schedule an appointment to do so at the self-testing clinic. If you are unable to perform the gargle test or are testing a child under 4, you can receive a swab test at the Emergency Department at the Powell River General Hospital.

To learn more about how the tests are processed watch this video from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

At the present time in BC, based on the available evidence, COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic individuals (people who don't have symptoms), outside of an outbreak scenario, is considered likely to be of low yield. Therefore this is not considered an effective use of health system resources and is not recommended. 

If an employer requires a COVID test for an asymptomatic employee (i.e. that employee does not have any symptoms), the employer is responsible for arranging private testing. At this time the only option for self-pay testing would be in a larger community with Life Labs en route to your work site. (For example, some employers organize swabs onsite, which get shipped to private labs). Private testing avoids placing additional burden on B.C.'s public testing resources, which are in high demand due to the ongoing pandemic and record-breaking testing and infection numbers.

Employees who are tested under these circumstances are required to self-isolate until test results are available.

Please note that Public Health does not support asymptomatic testing at this time, including for work-related reasons, unless directed by a Public Health official. People having issues with employer requests, or employers who have questions, are welcome to contact us, and we can try to provide additional support.

If you require a COVID test for international travel, you can access self-pay testing directly at YVR (for more information visit yvr.ca/en/passengers/takecare/covid-19-testing) and in Vancouver en route to YVR with Life Labs that offer self-pay options.

As of March 15, Vancouver Coastal Health will be offering a public vaccination site located on the upper level of the Powell River Recreation Complex.

© Powell River Division of Family Practice | Site design by Maywood Design