Testing Questions and Answers

Novel Coronavirus COVID-19
 

COVID-19 Testing Questions and Answers


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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, including variants of concern, 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?

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. 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.

Isolation means staying home and keeping away from others, including household members if possible. If there are challenges with isolating at home, you can discuss alternative isolation options with your public health nurse. 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 self-isolating (quarantining) 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.




What if I have no symptoms, but have been identified as a close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 case?

You should be tested if you have been identified by public health as a close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 case. You should go for testing 10 days after your last exposure to the case, regardless of whether you have symptoms. Testing is important to identify cases who may not be displaying symptoms as they can still contribute to the spread of COVID-19, including the more transmissible variants of concern. If your results are negative, you must continue self-isolating (quarantining) for the remainder of the 14 days from your last exposure, as there is still a chance that you may develop COVID-19.




Should I get tested if I travelled outside of Manitoba?

Yes. International travellers arriving or returning must follow self-isolation (quarantine) and testing guidance outlined in the Federal Quarantine Act. Domestic travellers should 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 province.  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 outside of Manitoba and share the location of travel. They should also be tested again after 10 days, even if still asymptomatic, as long as they have not had a positive test within the last three months. Out of province travellers need to observe the full 14-day self-isolation (quarantine) 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 recently tested positive.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and have had close contact to an out of province traveller should identify this contact to public health officials during the public health investigation and follow-up.




Who can get tested?




What are the different kinds of test sites?




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 Santé 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.




Should I get tested if I'm travelling to or returning to a First Nations or Indigenous and Northern Relations community?

Yes. Data has shown that First Nations people experience severe outcomes from COVID-19 at higher rates and at younger ages compared to other Manitobans. To lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission, First Nations health experts and public health officials have developed a number of targeted testing recommendations.

Non-essential travel to and from First Nations and Indigenous and Northern Relations communities continues to be discouraged. However, public health officials recognize that some essential travel continues to take place.

Effective Friday, March 19th, 2021, public health officials strongly recommend that COVID-19 testing occur before travel to First Nations and Indigenous and

Northern Relations communities, and before someone returns to a community if a resident has been away for more than 48 hours

Testing should not be done in individuals with a previous lab-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the past there months. Testing is recommended for individuals who have received one or two doses of vaccine. 

Individuals without symptoms of COVID-19 travelling to, or returning to, a First Nations or Indigenous and Northern Relations community can seek testing within three days of travel at no cost at the following locations. For hours and appointment information, visit the COVID-19 testing site.

While public health is only recommending testing at this time, individuals should be familiar with testing and self-isolation (quarantine) requirements that may be in place in their destination community.

Provided they have no symptoms, individuals seeking testing prior to travel, or return to, a First Nations or Indigenous and Northern Relations community do not need to self-isolate (quarantine) while waiting for their test result. However, they are encouraged to continue self-monitoring for symptoms, using the online screening tool, for 14 days after arriving in community.

Even if an individual receives a negative test result, they need to continue to follow all public health measures including limiting non-household close contacts, wearing masks in indoor public places, following physical distancing measures, and practicing frequent hand hygiene.

If individuals develop symptoms after receiving negative test results they need to immediately self-isolate and be re-tested.