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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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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.

COVID-19 Testing

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.

Effective April 11, 2022, the Province of Ontario has updated the eligibility criteria for accessing a COVID-19 PCR test. Check to see if you’re eligible.

NOTE: The Middlesex-London Health Unit does not provide COVID-19 testing or operate any COVID-19 testing sites. To find a COVID-19 testing location, please visit: covid-19.ontario.ca/assessment-centre-locations.

COVID-19 Antiviral Treatment

Antiviral treatments are now available in the community to individuals at higher risk of severe COVID-19. These treatments must be taken within the first 5 to 7 days of symptoms starting. To determine if you are at the highest risk of severe COVID-19 and may benefit from antiviral treatment, please take the Provincial COVID-19 antiviral treatment screener.


 

COVID-19 Self-Assessment

If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, prior to going to get tested, please complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment and follow its directions.

 

COVID-19 Self-Assessment

Click here to start →


COVID-19 Diagnostic (PCR) Tests 

Individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms should consider themselves to be positive for COVID-19 and should follow the isolation and/or self-monitoring guidelines.

At this time, most people do not need to be tested for COVID-19.

Groups who are eligible for COVID-19 PCR Testing:

The following groups are eligible to receive COVID-19 PCR tests:

  • Symptomatic people in one of the following groups
    • People aged 70 years and older
    • People aged 60 years and older who have less than three doses of COVID-19 vaccine
    • People who are immunocompromised
    • Adults aged 18 years and older who have had less than three doses of COVID-19 vaccine and have risk conditions:
      • Obesity (BMI ≥ 30kg/m2)
      • Diabetes
      • Heart disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure
      • Chronic respiratory disease, including cystic fibrosis
      • Cerebral palsy
      • Intellectual disability
      • Sickle cell disease
      • Moderate or severe kidney disease (eGFR <60mL/min)
      • Moderate or severe liver disease (e.g. Child Pugh Class B or C cirrhosis)
    • Other people at higher risk of severe disease who may be eligible for COVID-19 treatment if they tested positive
    • Pregnant people
    • Patient-facing healthcare workers
    • Staff, volunteers, residents/inpatients, essential care providers, and visitors in highest risk settings
    • Household members of staff in highest risk settings and patient-facing health care workers
    • Home and community care workers
    • Staff and students in Provincial and Demonstration Schools
    • Elementary and secondary students and education staff who have received a PCR self-collection kit through their school
    • International Agricultural Workers in congregate living settings
    • Patients seeking emergency medical care, at the discretion of the treating clinician
    • Other outpatients for whom a diagnostic test is required for clinical management, at the discretion of the treating clinician
    • People who are underhoused or experiencing homelessness
    • First responders, including fire, police and paramedics
  • Symptomatic / asymptomatic people:
    • Individuals who are from a First Nation, Inuit, Métis community, and/or who self-identify as First Nation, Inuit, and Métis and their household members
    • Individuals travelling into First Nation, Inuit, Métis communities for work
    • On admission/transfer to or from hospital or congregate living setting
    • People in the context of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in highest risk settings as directed by the local public health unit
    • Individuals, and one accompanying caregiver, with written prior approval for out-of-country medical services from the General Manager, OHIP
    • Any patient with a scheduled surgical procedure requiring a general anaesthetic 24-48 hours prior to procedure date
    • Newborns born to people with confirmed COVID-19 at the time of birth within 24 hours of delivery, with a repeat test at 48 hours after birth if baseline test is negative, or if the parental test results are pending at the time of discharge
    • People 24-48 hours prior to treatment for cancer or prior to hemodialysis, at the discretion of the treating clinician

When should I get a COVID-19 PCR test?

A COVID-19 diagnostic (PCR) test is recommended if you:

What is a COVID-19 PCR test?

COVID-19 PCR tests are performed by having a swab inserted into the nose to take a sample. The samples are then tested at a laboratory. COVID-19 PCR tests are used to diagnose a current COVID-19 infection.

Where can I get a COVID-19 PCR test?

COVID-19 tests are only available for eligible individuals.  

 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.

Western University and Fanshawe College also provide COVID-19 PCR testing for their students and staff. Visit their websites directly for more information.

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 receive.  Learn more about accessing your test results →

If you are unable to access your results on the portal after four days AND you were tested at London's COVID-19 Carling Heights Assessment 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 Carling Heights Assessment Centre,  please DO NOT call the Middlesex-London Health Unit as we will NOT have your results. You must contact the location where you were tested.


Rapid Antigen Tests

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are available at grocery stores and pharmacies throughout Ontario. Many grocery stores and pharmacies in Middlesex-London are now providing free rapid tests. To find the list of participating locations, 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 obtained in less than an hour.

RATs can either be administered by a professional or be self-administered at home.

How do I get a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)?

Free rapid tests are available at many grocery stores and pharmacies in Middlesex-London. To find the list of participating locations, please visit www.ontario.ca/rapidtest.

Eligible businesses and organizations can order free rapid antigen tests through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program to support their existing screening measures.

How do I use a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)?

If you are self-administering a rapid antigen test at home, follow the labelling instructions provided by the manufacturer, as approved by Health Canada. If the labelling instructions do not include directions for self-swabbing/self-testing, and you have the appropriate knowledge, skills, and judgement to test yourself, please visit here for training resources, including an instructional video.

If the labelling instructions do not include sampling both from the mouth and nose, you may voluntarily perform this combined oral and nasal sampling method as it may improve the sensitivity of the test. Click here for instructions on this method.

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, you must still presume that you have COVID-19 and must 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. If you do not need to self-isolate for any other reason, continue to follow public health guidance including physical distancing, wearing a mask, and limiting your social gatherings. An abundance of caution should still be used.

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 household 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 to follow public health guidance including physical distancing, wearing a mask, and limiting your social gatherings. An abundance of caution should still be used.

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 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 to the initial viral replication which benefits an individual as the inflammatory response can cause poor outcomes in the individual.

The antiviral treatments approved by Health Canada are:

  • 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. Learn more about Paxlovid 
  • 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.

They 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.

To determine if you might be at higher risk, take the Provincial COVID-19 Antiviral Treatment Screener →

What groups will be considered to receive COVID-19 antiviral treatments?

To be considered to receive an antiviral treatment, you must have tested positive for COVID-19, either with a PCR test or a rapid antigen test, and have been assessed by a health care provider to determine if you are at higher risk of adverse outcomes due to COVID-19 and if treatment is right for you.

You may be at higher risk if you are:

  • over 18 years old and immunocompromised (have an immune system that is weakened by a health condition or medications)
  • over 70 years old
  • over 60 years old with fewer than three vaccine doses
  • over 18 years old with fewer than three vaccine doses and at least one of the following risk conditions:
    • obesity
    • diabetes
    • heart disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure
    • chronic respiratory disease (including cystic fibrosis)
    • cerebral palsy
    • intellectual or developmental disabilities
    • sickle cell disease
    • moderate or severe kidney disease
    • moderate or severe liver disease
    • pregnant and unvaccinated (zero doses)

To determine if you might be a higher risk, take the Provincial COVID-19 Antiviral Treatment Screener →

How to get COVID-19 antiviral treatment

COVID-19 antiviral treatments must be started within five to seven days (depending on the treatment) of when symptoms begin.  If you have symptoms, even mild, and meet the criteria to be considered for treatment, seek testing and care immediately by either:

You may also use a rapid antigen test; however, even if your test is negative, if you meet the criteria to be considered for treatment, seek PCR testing and assessment immediately as rapid antigen tests may be negative in the early stage of infection.

If you are unable to visit a clinical assessment centre, PCR tests are available at any provincial testing location; however, you will also need an assessment from a health care provider to get treatment. 

Eligible individuals with a prescription to access antivirals may be able to fill their prescription at a local pharmacy. For a list of pharmacies that are dispensing Paxlovid, visit: ontario.ca/antivirals.


Symptoms of COVID-19

If you are student or staff member screening for symptoms prior to going to school or child care, please complete the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool.

If you are not a student or staff member of a school or child care setting and you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, take the COVID-19 self-assessment to help determine next steps.

For full symptom details, please review: COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Most Common Symptoms of COVID-19 that Require Immediate Self-isolation AND COVID-19 Testing

Fever (temperature of 37.8°C/100.0°F or greater)

Chills

Cough that's new or worsening (e.g. continuous, more than usual if chronic cough)

Not related to other known causes or conditions for which current symptoms do not represent a flare-up/exacerbation related to infection (e.g. COPD)

Barking Cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (Croup)

Not related to other known causes or conditions

Shortness of breath (dyspnea, out of breath, unable to breathe deeply)

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. asthma)

Decrease or loss of smell or taste (new olfactory or taste disorder)

Not related to other known causes of conditions (e.g. seasonal allergies, neurological disorders)

Two or More of the Following Symptoms of COVID-19 Require Immediate Self-isolation and, if Eligible, COVID-19 Testing

Muscle aches that are unusual or long lasting

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. sudden injury, fibromyalgia)

Extreme tiredness, lethagry, or malaise that is unusual (Fatigue, lack of energy, generally feeling unwell)

Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. depression, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction)

Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
Not related to other known causes or conditions 

Sore throat (painful / difficulty swallowing)
Not related to other known causes or conditions 

Runny nose
Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. returning inside from the cold)

Stuffy nose
Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. seasonal allergies)

Headache that is new and persistent, unusual, unexplained, or long-lasting
Not related to other konwn causes or conditions (e.g. tension-type headaches, chronic migraines)

Other Symptoms That May Be Associated with COVID-19 and Should Be Monitored

Abdominal pain that is persistent or ongoing
Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. menstrual cramps, GERD)

Pink eye
Not related to other known causes or conditions

Decreased or lack of appetite
For young children and not related to other known causes or conditions

Anyone with severe respiratory illness, or a medical emergency should call 9-1-1 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms.

Signs of severe respiratory illness include:

  • Severe difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, can only speak in single words)
  • Severe chest pain (contant tightness or crushing sensation)
  • Feeling confused or unsure of where you are
  • Losing consciousness
 
Date of creation: January 27, 2020
Last modified on: April 19, 2022