Your test results and next steps
How to get your COVID-19 test results and what to do if you test positive or negative, or have indeterminate test results.
It can take approximately 7 days to receive your COVID-19 test results. Your testing site should give you specific instructions on how to access your results.
All positive and negative results are sent to the testing site or health care provider that tested you. Peel Public Health receives all positive test results but does not have access to all negative test results.
Peel Public Health does not provide COVID-19 testing.
Get your test results
- Follow the directions given to you by the testing location about how to access your test results.
- You will be notified by phone if you tested positive.
- Access COVID-19 test results online. You’ll need a green Ontario photo health card.
- If you have an older health card (red and white health card) or don't have a health card, your test results may not be available online.
- If your test results are not available online or you do not have internet access, contact your doctor or health care provider, or the testing location.
What to do while waiting for your test results
Stay home while you wait for your test results.
If you had symptoms when you were tested or you develop symptoms while waiting for your test result, you and the people you live with must self-isolate. Refer to the full instructions about who must self-isolate.
If you did not have symptoms when you got tested, those you live with should stay home until you receive your test results. If any of your household members start to experience symptoms, they should get tested right away.
Learn what to do if you can't self-isolate in your home.
A negative test does not mean you can't get infected with COVID-19 in the future. After you're tested, continue to follow measures to protect yourself and others.
For full instructions, find out what to do after getting tested.
Rapid testing in the workplace
In Peel, rapid testing (also known as point-of-care or POC testing) for COVID-19 is only available in specific settings, such as workplaces and long-term care homes. You cannot request a rapid test from your health care provider, an assessment centre, or pharmacy.
If you received a rapid test, follow the instructions given to you at the time of your test. Get more information about rapid testing in the workplace for employers and employees.
Peel Public Health will directly contact anyone who tests positive for COVID-19. Be sure to answer the call so we can provide further information and instructions to you.
You can expect that your COVID-19 infection is either from the B.1.1.7 strain or the previously circulating strain of COVID-19. You may receive another call only if you test positive for a different variant of concern such as B.1.351 or P.1, or if further information is needed related to your school or work setting.
If you tested positive for COVID-19, you may receive a text from Peel Public Health with a secure link to a personal assessment form. This will help gather information such as your current symptoms, who you may have been in contact with, and whether you can safely self-isolate at home. All information collected is kept confidential and is protected by Ontario’s strict privacy laws. If you receive a text message, expect to receive a call from us.
If your results are positive for COVID-19:
You must stay in self-isolation for at least 10 days from the start of your symptoms, or at least 10 days from the date you got tested if you do not have symptoms. Children or those requiring support with daily living can isolate together with a caregiver.
Learn what to do if you can’t safely self-isolate at home.
You can come out of self-isolation after 10 days if your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours and you don't have a fever (your temperature remains lower than 37.8 C without the use of medication).
If you were hospitalized with severe COVID-19 illness (for example, in an intensive care unit) or are severely immunocompromised, you must stay in self-isolation for at least 20 days. You can come out of self-isolation after 20 days if you have no fever and your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours.
If your symptoms change or worsen, you may need to seek medical attention or get re-tested. If you're concerned and have questions, contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.
You are not required to provide a negative test result in order to return to work, school, or other activities. Find out when to stop self-isolating and when to return to work or school.
Instructions for your close contacts
Inform your close contacts, including the people you live with, that they must self-isolate for at least 14 days from their last exposure to you, even if they test negative for COVID-19.
Individuals must follow these instructions if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
A negative test does not automatically mean you can come out of self-isolation.
This is because the virus may still be incubating and may not have been detected by the test, or there may be other medical reasons for your symptoms.
If your test results were negative, and you were exposed to a person who has or may have COVID-19:
Stay in self-isolation for 14 days after your last exposure to the person with COVID-19. Children or those requiring support with daily living can isolate together with a caregiver.
You may need to get tested again, depending on when you were first tested:
- If you don’t have symptoms and were tested earlier than 7 days from your last exposure to the person with COVID-19, repeat the test on or after day 10.
- If you develop COVID-19 symptoms at any time or your symptoms worsen, repeat the test as soon as possible, even if you tested negative before.
You can come out of self-isolation after 14 days if you have no symptoms or your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours and you don't have a fever (your temperature remains lower than 37.8 C without the use of medication).
The people you live with should also stay home during your 14-day self-isolation period, except for essential reasons such as picking up groceries or prescriptions. They should work from home, if possible. Children in your home should not go to school or child care if you cannot stay apart from them while you are isolating.
If your test results were negative, and you were NOT exposed to a person with COVID-19:
- If you have symptoms, stay in self-isolation. Children or those requiring support with daily living can isolate together with a caregiver. You can come out of self-isolation 24 hours after your symptoms are gone. If your symptoms change or worsen, get tested again as soon as possible.
- If you have no symptoms, you do not need to self-isolate, but should continue to self-monitor for symptoms. Get tested again if you develop symptoms.
You are not required to provide a negative test result in order to return to work, school, or other activities.
Learn what to do if you can't safely self-isolate at home from the people you live with.
Indeterminate test results mean your results were not confirmed as positive or negative. If you have had COVID-19 symptoms at any time since testing, you are considered to be a ‘probable’ case of COVID-19 and will need to continue to self-isolate and follow the same instructions as those who test positive for COVID-19.
If you did not have symptoms since you were tested, you must continue to self-isolate and get tested again to determine if you have COVID-19. If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, refer to the full instructions for close contacts when you should get tested. Check where to get tested.