Get a COVID-19 test

Testing is one of the main ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic effectively.

Testing for COVID-19 is not mandatory. Anyone who is offered a test can decide whether or not to have it. Whatever you decide, it is important to follow all the public health recommendations and to continue to follow the health recommendations for everyone.

Who has to get tested

If you have flu-like symptoms or symptoms similar to COVID-19 and are a priority client, it is recommended that you get tested at a screening centre.

If you have symptoms and are not a priority client, it is recommended that you do a rapid test. If you are unable to get rapid tests, self-isolate respecting the Instructions for people with COVID-19 This hyperlink will open in a new window..

If you need to take a screening test to travel, you must go to a private clinic that offers this service. Consult the Instructions for travel within Canada or internationally (COVID-19) page to find out which private laboratories are recognized and have agreed to carry out the tests for travellers.

Priority for testing at screening clinics

Due to an increase in the number of infections, PCR testing at the screening clinic is now reserved for certain higher priority clients.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, but are not a priority client, it is recommended that you do a rapid test. If you are unable to get rapid tests, self-isolate respecting the Instructions for people with COVID-19.

Health and social services workers

Health and social services workers and subcontractors providing care and services to clients or residents of the following facilities may be tested at a screening clinic:

  • Health and social services establishments
  • Intermediate and family-type resources (IRs-FTRs) and continuous assistance residences (CARs)
  • Private seniors' homes
  • Residential centres, or residential and long-term care centres 
  • Home-based social economy enterprises
  • Service employment paycheque arrangement
  • Respite home
  • Birthing centres
  • Palliative care hospices
  • Residential settings (including religious communities)
  • Community accommodation resources
  • Detention centres
  • Pharmacies
  • Ambulance service organizations
  • Any other facility or organization defined under provincial guidelines

Other priority people

You also can be tested at a screening clinic if you are:

  • A client who receives or will receives healthcare and social services in a healthcare or residential facility listed above
  • A personn who is homeless or in residential distress
  • A personn from First Nations, Inuit or Métis communities
  • A personn living in or commuting to remote areas to work
  • A personn who is granted a temporary exception to travel for essential medical services or treatment by Transport Canada
  • A police officer or a first responder firefighter, if symptomatic
  • An ambulance technician, if symptomatic
  • A member of the National Assembly security staff, if symptomatic
  • A school staff member, if symptomatic
  • A daycare staff member, if symptomatic
  • A symptomatic person for whom treatment for COVID-19 is being considered
  • An informal caregiver
  • A person with a physical or intellectual disability or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • A symptomatic person aged 70 or over

Confirmation of your membership in this group will be requested from the screening center (e.g. employee card, confirmation of surgery, proof of residence in collective accommodation establishments, etc.).

Testing centres

Due to the increase in the number of cases of infection, PCR tests performed at screening clinics are now reserved for priority clients.

Designated testing clinics, designated assessment clinics and mobile clinics have been set up to ensure access to a test for people who need one based on indications established by public health.

Make an appointment to get tested This hyperlink will open in a new window.

Certains walk-in testing centres may reach full capacity before they close due to high traffic. Before visiting a walk-in testing centre, visit the website for your region.

You can also consult the list of COVID-19 screening test centres and wait times This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Contraindications to getting tested for COVID-19

In general, there are no contraindications. Some situations require a medical assessment before getting tested:

  • You have a nasal obstruction other than nasal congestion;
  • You are having a nosebleed now;
  • You had a nosebleed in the last week;
  • You have had surgery:
    • oral surgery in the last week;
    • nose surgery in the last month;
  • You are having an episode of wheezing.

Testing strategy and prioritization

The testing strategy for COVID-19 in Québec takes each region’s specific context into account. The number of tests available in each region is calculated based on the size of the population, but also on the intensity of community transmission observed there.

Testing is prioritized based on the highest probability of finding cases in order to quickly begin investigations and contact tracing and thereby control outbreaks.

If you receive a call and see Santé publique displayed on your telephone, it is important to answer and cooperate with the public health authorities.

Last update: September 20, 2022


Information on the website in no way replaces the opinion of a health professional. If you have questions concerning your health status, consult a professional.


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