COVID-19 - As Ontario reopens, learn about public health and workplace safety measures. Learn about the COVID-19 vaccination and service disruptions.

Testing and Your Lab Results for COVID-19

Who should get tested for COVID-19

If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate and get tested, even if you're fully vaccinated. You should also get tested if you're directed to do so by your health care provider or Public Health.

It's important to remember that a COVID-19 test is only a snapshot of your health on the specific date and time the swab was taken. No testing is perfect and a negative result doesn't mean you haven't been exposed to COVID-19. You can still develop symptoms days after your test was taken.

If your test comes back negative, but you begin to develop COVID-19 symptoms, even if they're mild, you need to be re-tested. This is important so we can all protect the health and safety of our loved ones and our community from whatever infection you may have.

If you have concerns about an exposure to the virus while travelling, we recommend you speak to your health care professional or call the Niagara Region Public Health Info-Line at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074.

Where to get tested

If you have symptoms

This is not a full list of testing locations.

If you were tested because of having COVID-19 symptoms, even if they were mild symptoms, you must self-isolate while waiting for your test results.

If you don't have symptoms

A select number of pharmacies in Niagara offer testing by appointment only to those without COVID-19 symptoms. Other restrictions also apply. See criteria for getting tested at a participating pharmacy.

Find a participating pharmacy near you.

How to get your COVID-19 test results

Ask the health care professional taking your swab / COVID-19 test how you'll be receiving your test results.

  • Niagara Health Assessment Centre

    If you were tested at a Niagara Health COVID-19 assessment centre, you'll receive directions on how to access lab results online. See Provincial portal, Niagara Health Navigator or MyChart below.

    If you were tested at a Niagara Health COVID-19 assessment centre, and don't have a current Ontario health card, contact your health care provider (doctor's office) or the Release of Information Office at the site where you were tested.

    Contact the Release of Information Office at 905-378-4647 ext. 52451.

  • Provincial portal

    Ontario has a user-friendly, online portal for the public to easily access their COVID-19 lab test results.

    If results state, "Unable to post positive / negative results on this website or results unavailable on this site," your results may be available in another location. To find the other location, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Previous results". Verify the results in this section and match the date you had your COVID-19 test.

    By offering faster and secure access to test results on your computer or mobile device, this portal will help ease pressures on public health units and frontline workers to provide this information so they can better focus on containing COVID-19.

    Repeated login attempts may result in being locked out of the portal until midnight the next day.

  • Niagara Health Navigator

    Check your results by downloading a mobile app, available through Niagara Health.

    1. Download Niagara Health Navigator in the Google Play store or Apple app store
    2. Under COVID-19 select "Self Assessment and Lab Results" then "Check your Lab Results"
    3. Enter details as they appear on the Health Card
    4. Select "Verify Patient"
  • MyChart

    If can take a while to get your MyChart PIN. We recommend you sign up as soon as possible.

    Register for MyChart

    1. Visit MyChart and complete the online form. You must have a valid Ontario health card and be 13 years of age or older.
    2. Upload a clear photo of your Ontario health card
    3. Take a photo of yourself holding your health card and upload the photo
    4. Activate your account. You will receive an email with a link and four digit PIN within one business day.

    Find COVID-19 lab results

    1. Login to MyChart with your four digit PIN number and on the right hand side in the yellow area, create an account
    2. Click 'Clinical Records' on the left hand side, then click 'South West Ontario' and then click 'Microbiology'
    3. Click on the test description. If you're unsure which test describes COVID-19, click the test whose specimen source is Nasopharyngeal Swab.
    4. View your results
  • LifeLabs

    If you know your swab went to a LifeLabs facility, you can access your results by registering for their free, secure service at my results.

Public Health doesn't have access to your COVID-19 test results. If you're having difficulty accessing your results or need a paper copy, call 905-378-4647 ext. 52451 and ask for the Release of Information Office. Watch this video to learn how to find your COVID-19 test results.

Your test results

If you received a positive test result

Anyone with a positive test result will be contacted by Public Health to determine the period of self-isolation. In general, there is a minimum 10 day self-isolation period after symptoms started. Instructions for positive COVID-19 cases and high-risk close contacts.

If you received a negative test result

Symptoms Fully vaccinated - it's been 14 days since you received the full series of a vaccine authorized in Canada Not fully vaccinated
Have symptoms You can leave self-isolation when you have been free of fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications), free of vomiting or diarrhea for 48 hours AND your other symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours.

You can leave self-isolation when you have been free of fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications), free of vomiting or diarrhea for 48 hours AND your other symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours.

Don't have symptoms

You can leave self-isolation. For the next 10 days, you should self-monitor for symptoms and get tested if you develop any symptoms.

If you were tested because you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, you're required to self-isolate for 10 days following your last exposure to that person.

Learn about when children can return to school / child care.

Household members may also need to self-isolate depending on their vaccination status and if they have symptoms. Instructions for positive COVID-19 cases and high-risk close contacts.

If you have travelled internationally, you will still need to self-isolate for at least 14 days from your return to Canada, even with a negative test result. There are some exemptions to quarantine for eligible fully vaccinated travellers.

It's up to the individual being tested if they want to share their personal health information with others. Niagara Region Public Health urges everyone to be cautious about sharing any personal health information, and to know that no one has the right to see your personal health information except your health care provider. In respect of privacy, Niagara Region Public Health will never share testing results with anyone but the person who has tested.

Rapid testing in Niagara

Some places in Niagara use rapid testing for screening. If a person has a positive rapid antigen test, Public Health requires a standard test (laboratory-PCR test) to confirm a COVID-19 infection. Rapid testing doesn't replace public health measures, such as symptom screening, physical distancing, masking and hand hygiene.

Rapid antigen test

Rapid antigen testing can be used on individuals that don't have symptoms, such as:

  • Long-term care homes use rapid antigen tests to screen for staff, students and essential caregivers
  • Large companies have access to free rapid screening test kits. This provides quick results that can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and make employees feel safer. See if your organization is eligible for these free antigen point-of-care test kits and learn how to set up a testing program.
  • Some pharmacies offer this test for a fee. Call ahead to see if the test is available and if you need an appointment.

Rapid molecular test

This test works for people who do and don't have symptoms. Some walk-in clinics may offer this free test. Call ahead to ask if this is offered and if you need an appointment.

Reporting

We recommend facilities report positive rapid antigen test results, such as Panbio, to Public Health. Facilities must report confirmed PCR tests and positive rapid molecular tests, such as ID Now to Public Health.

If you test positive on a rapid test

There are two different rapid tests. If you test positive on a rapid molecular test, you must self-isolate. If it's a positive rapid antigen test, you must book a follow-up test to confirm the result within 24 hours.

If you test negative on a rapid antigen test

If you have no symptoms and were not exposed to a person with COVID-19, you don't need to self-isolate.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate and book a follow-up test to confirm the result. See "How can I get tested for COVID-19" above.

If you were exposed to a person with COVID-19, you must self-isolate unless you're fully vaccinated. If you develop symptoms, you must book a COVID-19 test. See "How can I get tested for COVID-19" above.

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