COVID-19 Testing and Treatment in London and Middlesex County
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, please self-isolate immediately and review the self-isolation requirements.
The most common tests for COVID-19 in Ontario are the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and the diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests
Free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are available at grocery stores and pharmacies throughout Ontario. To find a list of participating locations in London and Middlesex, please visit: www.ontario.ca/rapidtest.
When should I get a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)?
You can consider using a RAT if you work in a hospital, long-term care home, congregate setting or other qualifying high-risk workplace, or if you are part of a “test-to-work” initiative.
Should you have regular access to RATs, they may also be used for routine screen testing to detect COVID-19 infections in asymptomatic individuals. Screen testing requires routine testing multiple times per week. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, it is advised that you wait 30 days after your positive test or the onset of your symptoms, whichever occurred earlier, before resuming asymptomatic routine screen testing.
If you test positive using a RAT, please follow the self-isolation guidance.
What is a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)?
A RAT requires having a swab inserted into the nose to take a sample that is then added to a solution in order to obtain a result. Results can be seen within 15 to 20 minutes.
RATs can either be administered by a professional or be self-administered at home.
How do I use a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)?
For directions on how to use an at-home RAT, please view this video: How to use a COVID-19 antigen test at home.
To dispose of a RAT used at home, please consult your municipality’s by-law on the proper disposal of RATs to ensure they can be disposed of with household trash. If the RATs are used on-site at a workplace, they are considered hazardous waste under the Environmental Protection Act and must be disposed of at a waste facility approved to handle biomedical waste.
What do I do if I test positive on a Rapid Antigen Test?
If you test positive on a rapid antigen test, please follow the self-isolation requirements for someone with COVID-19.
What do I do if I test negative on a Rapid Antigen Test?
1) If you have symptoms of COVID-19, and you have tested negative on only one RAT, follow the self-isolation requirements for someone with COVID-19.
2) If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and you test negative on two RATs, taken 24-48 hours apart, it is presumed that you do not have COVID-19. Please self-isolate until your symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if your symptoms are gastrointestinal) and you have no fever. After leaving self-isolation, please take precautions including wearing a well-fitting mask and avoiding high-risk settings and vulnerable people for 10 days following the onset of your symptoms.
3) If you don't have symptoms of COVID-19 but live with someone who either has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19, follow the requirements for close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
4) If you don't have symptoms of COVID-19 but have been informed that you are a close contact, follow the requirements for close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
5) If you don't have symptoms of COVID-19 and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason, continue monitoring yourself for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If any symptoms develop, self-isolate immediately and follow the self-isolation requirements for someone with COVID-19.
What do I do if my test result is a faint line?
If your Rapid Antigen Test result is a faint line, consider your test result to be positive and follow the self-isolation requirements for someone with COVID-19.
COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests
COVID-19 PCR Test and COVID-19 Rapid Molecular Test.
What is a COVID-19 PCR Test?
A COVID-19 PCR test is a molecular test which requires a more complex method of testing in a laboratory. Positive results are reported to the local health unit. This test is performed by inserting a swab into a person's nose to collect a sample, is administered by a professional, and is used to diagnose a COVID-19 infection.
What is a COVID-19 Rapid Molecular Test?
A Rapid Molecular Test requires less complex testing methods than a PCR test and therefore can be collected and read by non-laboratory professionals at the time of test. This test method also confirms a COVID-19 infection.
Groups who are eligible for COVID-19 PCR or Rapid Molecular Testing:
Currently only certain groups of people are eligible to be tested with a PCR or a Rapid Molecular Test. This group represents those people most at risk for decreased health effects from COVID-19 and those people working in settings where the spread of COVID-19 would put others at an increased risk of illness. Click here to see if you are eligible.
Where can I get a COVID-19 PCR test?
COVID-19 PCR tests are available for those who are eligible through various providers in London and Middlesex County. For more information about locations, hours of operation, and how to book an appointment for a test, please visit covid-19.ontario.ca/assessment-centre-locations. Appointments are required for COVID-19 PCR tests.
Please note: The Middlesex-London Health Unit does not provide COVID-19 testing or operate any of the testing or assessment centre locations.
How do I get my COVID-19 PCR test results?
In most cases, COVID-19 test results are available through the Ministry of Health's online portal and may take up to four days to be received.
If you are unable to access your results on the portal AND you were tested at London's COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Centre, located at the London Health Sciences Centre, you may contact the Health Unit at 519-663-5317 Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
If you were NOT tested at the London COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Centre, contact the location where you were tested.
Travel-Related Testing Information
For more information about travel-related testing click here. Contact your local pharmacy for COVID-19 testing locations for international travel.
COVID-19 Antiviral Treatments
What are COVID-19 antiviral treatments?
COVID-19 antiviral treatments work by reducing the replication of the COVID-19 virus. This can reduce the body's inflammatory response which is beneficial as the inflammatory response can cause poor outcomes in people. The antiviral treatments listed below approved by Health Canada.
- Paxlovid: an antiviral medication that can be taken by mouth at home and must be taken within five days of the start of COVID-19 symptoms.
- Remdesivir: an antiviral medication that must be taken intravenously at a designated clinic and that must be taken within seven days of the start of symptoms.
Antiviral treatments are available for free by prescription to people with COVID-19 who are at a higher risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19. For more information about antiviral and other treatments that are available to people who are eligible visit: covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-treatments.
To determine if you might be at higher risk, take the Provincial COVID-19 Antiviral Treatment Screener →
Last modified on: December 14, 2022