Information from Ottawa Public Health About Covid-19 Testing

Information from Ottawa Public Health About Covid-19 Testing
Posted on 12/17/2021
Information from Ottawa Public Health About Covid-19 Testing

Ottawa Public Health update

Please read the latest Special statements from officials from Dr. Vera Etches for a COVID-19 situational update in Ottawa.

COVID-19 Testing options

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing and Rapid antigen screening tests are available in Ottawa. Testing alone is not enough to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask, reducing the number of contacts outside your household, avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated places and isolating when sick prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the time it takes for a test to be taken, processed, reported and then for people’s contacts to be reached.

For more information on testing, visit

We have included a table below to summarize additional testing options in Ottawa; school take-home PCR test kits – available in every school for students when testing is needed; appointment-based ‘Do-It-Yourself’ PCR test kits; and we are currently working on expanding the Rapid Antigen Screening options.

Rapid Antigen Screening




Holiday School Rapid Antigen Screening Test Program

Children learning in-person in Ontario schools. Asymptomatic (no symptoms), non high-risk contacts, vaccinated and unvaccinated

  • Voluntary screening offered by the Provincial government
  • Children to test every 3-4 days over holiday break until all 5 tests complete.

School Rapid Antigen Screening Test Program

Targeted settings in schools and child care. Asymptomatic (no symptoms), unvaccinated and non high-risk contacts.

  • Voluntary screening available in select schools based on transmission risk within the school, subject to test availability.
  • Testing frequency would be based on transmission risk andexplained in the letter to participating students. For example, children may be asked to test three (3) times per week for three weeks, which is nine (9) tests in total.

Holiday Pop-Up Community Rapid Antigen Screening Tests

(Coming soon)

Asymptomatic (no symptoms), non high-risk contact individuals

  • Voluntary screening offered by the Provincial government.
  • Distribution of rapid antigen testing in public spaces including shopping centres, transit stations, libraries and recreational centres.
  • Additional details will be provided by the Provincial government.

PCR Tests

School take-home testing

kits (PCR)

School staff, students and household members who develop symptoms, who are identified as high-risk contacts or who test positive on a rapid antigen test

  • Provided by the school
  • Returned to your child’s school during school hours (except if closed because of the Holiday break) or to the 3 Assessment and Care Centres during operating hours.

Whole school take-home testing kits (PCR)

All staff,

students and symptomatic household members of a specific school

  • This option may be recommended for targeted schools in outbreak.
  • You will be invited to participate and be given detailed instructions.
  • Testing kits may be sent home with students OR can be picked up at the school.

Do-It-Yourself Test Kits – PCR

(By appointment)

Children two months of age and older who have symptoms

  • By appointment through CHEO- Brewer Park Arena location.
  • Parents can test children two months of age and older who have symptoms or have been identified as a high-risk contact, using a PCR test.
  • Once complete, the test kit is then dropped off at Brewer arena for processing at the lab.

Rapid Antigen Screening Test- Instructions and Videos

After-school COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

 A reminder that the last after-school COVID-19 clinics will be held on December 23rd. Please consult our website regularly for weekly schedule updates.

Reaching out for help

As the pandemic continues, we are aware that many families continue to struggle. This has not been easy.  You are not alone. Please reach out if you need help. Call 2-1-1 or visit to find out about financial and social support during COVID-19. If you need immediate help, call The Ottawa Distress Line/ Help Line at 613-238-3311 or The Mental Health Crisis Line at 613-722-6914.

Please know that help is available, and OPH encourages you to reach out for support when you need it. Please see resources available on the website: Mental Health and COVID-19.


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