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. Please advise them of your symptoms and travel history.

If you are looking for information on asymptomatic testing, please scroll down.

UPDATE: NEW COVID-19 TESTING PROCESS AND LOCATION

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. This new model of testing will ease the additional demands that have been placed on our healthcare workers since the onset of the pandemic. For those with severe symptoms or who need to get tested outside of the clinic hours, emergency testing remains available at the Emergency Department of the Hospital 24/7.

The new site will be 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 will be signage directing you to the clinic from Joyce Avenue. The supported self-testing model will include a saline gargle test in a kit that will be available for pick up at your scheduled appointment time.

This is a drive-thru clinic, and you will complete the test in your vehicle on-site. There will be a Medical Office Assistant (MOA) on-site to assist you with the collection of your sample, however, 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.

We recommend that you review the video below ahead of your appointment, so you know what to expect.

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 4, 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.

If you are bringing a school-aged child to the supported self-testing clinic, please watch this video to prepare them.

If you need a COVID-19 test you can 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). You will be informed about the time of your appointment by phone once we have received your request.

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.

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NASAL SWAB TESTING IS AVAILABLE AT THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT AT POWELL RIVER GENERAL HOSPITAL.

Get tested here if you have severe symptoms, or if you can’t wait for an appointment at the supported self-testing clinic. Please register at the front desk.

SHOULD I GET TESTED?

Please make an appointment to get tested if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever / chills
  • New onset or worsening cough
  • New onset or worsening fatigue
  • Sore throat / hoarse voice
  • Loss of appetite / difficulty swallowing
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Runny nose, sneezing, or nasal congestion
  • Shortness of breath

ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING

PLEASE NOTE: The hospital and the testing site at the Medical Clinic Associates 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.

REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT

COVID-19 TESTING AT THE SUPPORTED SELF-TESTING CLINIC is available BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.

This is a self-administered saline gargle test for COVID-19 and does not include an examination or appointment with a Doctor or Nurse. A Medical Office Assistant will be on-site to provide support with your saline gargle test. If you need a detailed health assessment, call your family doctor or nurse practitioner, or visit the Emergency Department at the Hospital.

To request an appointment at the supported self-testing clinic, please fill out the form below (preferred). If you are unable to book online you may also call (604) 485-2028 between 9am and 2pm Monday thru Friday (except stat holidays).

After submitting an appointment request form, you will receive a phone call with the time of your appointment. Appointments will be between 10am and 12:30pm on business days. If you don’t receive a phone call the following business day from when you submitted your request form, please call 604-485-2028.

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.

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TESTING IS ALSO AVAILABLE AT THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT AT POWELL RIVER GENERAL HOSPITAL.

Get tested at the hospital if you have severe symptoms, or if you can’t wait for an appointment at the supported self-testing clinic. Please register at the front desk.

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).

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.

Please self-isolate until the following criteria are met:

  • At least 10 days have passed since the start of your symptoms,
  • AND your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g Tylenol, Advil),
  • AND you are feeling better (e.g. improvment in runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue).

If Public Health provides you with different advice, follow their instructions.

  • If your symptoms worsen, contact your family doctor or nurse practitioner, or call 811.
  • If you have symptoms of illness, continue to isolate until your symptoms resolve.
  • If you are a healthcare provider speak with your employer about return-to-work policies.
  • If you are a contact of a COVID-19 case, continue to self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact.
  • If you are a traveller returning to Canada, you must continue to isolate for 14 days from the date of your arrival back in B.C.

Approximately 24-48 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.

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