Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 Testing Questions and Answers

On this page:

Why do I need to get tested?

Understanding the patterns and trends of COVID-19 transmission is an important part of Manitoba’s reopening strategy. Information about how COVID-19 is spreading will give public health officials the data they need to gradually ease public health restrictions and make changes to other elements of the province’s COVID-19 response.

As Manitoba continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, your testing results are critical to help guide public health actions including rapidly finding cases, case isolation, and follow-up. Timely action will limit the effects of COVID-19 and help manage the province’s overall response.

When should I get tested?

Testing should be done as soon as possible once symptoms appear. You should still be tested even if your symptoms are very mild or if they start to improve after 24 hours. It is important to get tested as soon as symptoms appear, as tracing and isolating contacts in a timely manner is important to limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, you should isolate and use the online screening tool or Call Health Links - Info Santé for further information on isolation and to see if you should be tested. Isolation means staying home and keeping away from others, including household members if possible. You should continue isolating for 10 days from the day symptoms started and until you no longer have a fever and the other symptoms are gone. If you get tested for COVID-19 and your test results are negative, you will be required to continue home isolation until you are symptom-free for 24 hours (but if you have been exposed to COVID-19 through close contact with a case or travel, you will need to continue isolating for the full 14 days from last exposure).

If your symptoms worsen (e.g., shortness of breath, breathing difficulties), or if you have questions or concerns, please call Health Links - Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or (toll-free) at 1-888-315-9257.

Who can get tested?

  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 can now be tested. Individuals experiencing symptoms do not require a referral from Health Links - Info SantÚ or their family physician to be tested for COVID-19 at a community testing site.
  • Individuals are encouraged to use the self-assessment tool to be certain they meet the necessary testing criteria before going to a community testing site. If you have symptoms that are not typical of COVID-19, but are worried, please speak with your health care provider or call Health Links - Info SantÚ at 204-788-8200 or (toll-free) at 1-888-315-9257.
  • Asymptomatic testing is only offered to individuals in certain situations, including:
    • When admitted to hospital for non-COVID-19 related care, or newly admitted to a Personal Care Home, in an effort to limit introduction in these settings.
    • In certain outbreak situations, to identify and isolate cases to minimize further spread.
    • When a close contact to a confirmed case is directed by a public health official.

What are the different kinds of test sites?

  • At testing centres, you will stand in a physically-distanced line to receive your test for walk-up services. If you have an appointment, you will enter the site at your appointment time.
  • At drive-thru sites, you will remain in your vehicle at all times, and you will be tested while in your vehicle.
  • At drive-up sites, you must make an appointment. You will remain in your vehicle until your appointment time, and then you will walk into a indoor staging area to get your test.
  • At mobile sites, you will stand in a physically-distanced line to receive your test; please note that mobile site locations may change depending on testing needs, though the locations on this page are always kept current.

Should a person who has recovered from COVID-19 be re-tested if they develop symptoms at a later date?

Yes, but the timing of tests needs to be carefully considered, as tests can detect evidence of the virus long after you have recovered from COVID-19. Based on our understanding of other human coronaviruses, you may be susceptible to reinfection around 3 months after your initial infection.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, 3 or more months after your first infection, you should isolate and go for testing.

If you develop symptoms less than 3 months after the first infection, a decision to re-test will depend on your exposure history, the severity of your symptoms, your pre-existing medical conditions and if you work with populations at higher risk of severe illness. Call Health Links - Info SantÚ at 204-788-8200 or (toll-free) at 1-888-315-9257 to determine if you should go for testing.

Should I get tested if I travelled internationally?

Yes. All international travellers must be tested for COVID-19 immediately upon arrival in Manitoba, regardless of if they are displaying symptoms, and whether they are visiting Manitoba or are returning from out of the country. They should make an appointment with a provincial testing site or visit a drive-thru test site, and indicate at the time of testing that they have been out of the country and share the location of travel. They should also be tested again after seven days, even if still asymptomatic. International travellers need to observe the full 14-day self-isolation period regardless of symptoms and test results. Re-testing is advised if an asymptomatic individual develops symptoms at any point, unless the individual had already tested positive. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and have had close contact to an international traveller should identify this contact to public health during the public health investigation and follow-up.