If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as shortness of breath or a worsening condition and feel that you need immediate medical care, call 9-1-1, and call ahead to your health centre or hospital facility to let them know you are coming to the facility.
Take a self-assessment to determine when you need to get tested, what to do if you test positive on an at-home test, and for advice on who should seek assessment or follow up testing if you get an at-home positive.
For a simple way to get advice on what to do after a positive test or to determine if you need testing use our self-assessment tool.
If you test positive on any test we recommend that you stay home and limit your contact with others. Consider for the next 10 days:
- wearing a mask while indoors,
- reducing your contacts (especially to vulnerable person),
- avoiding high risk-activities and working alone if possible.
If you test positive on at at-home test, you do not require an in-person test unless you are under-immunized or have a chronic health condition. To determine if you need testing use the self-assessment tool.
If someone in your household tests positive, we recommend that you limit your contacts for 10 days. Self-monitor for symptoms, avoid going to work or out in public. If you must leave your home, consider wearing a mask and socially distance from others for 10 days.
Testing is not necessary if you have no symptoms, but you can take an at-home Rapid Antigen Test if you wish (tests available for free at Northern stores, and the Fieldhouse and City Hall in Yellowknife).
If you develop symptoms: stay home, take a self-assessment to determine if you need testing.
Downloadable PDF: Testing Guidance document
As with many other common viral infections (e.g. the flu), COVID-19 testing is only recommended when the result of a test will inform decisions about treatment or care. If you have mild symptoms of COVID-19 and are not in high-risk categories you do not need a test. Stay home and away from others until your symptoms have improved and you have not had a fever for 24 hours.
If you test positive at home and are under age 5 or over 60, have serious medical conditions (see below), or are not immunized, please speak to a healthcare provider to get assessed or call 811 for more information
You should get tested at the local health centre or testing centre if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and:
- Are currently being treated for cancer.
- Have had a solid organ transplant.
- Are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
- Live in a congregate living facility.
- Work in healthcare or any vulnerable sector.
- Live in the same home as a healthcare or vulnerable sector worker.
- Are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or haven’t received a booster.
- Are pregnant.
- Are under 5 or over 60 years of age.
- Have a BMI over 40.
- Have kidney disease or diabetes.
- Have serious liver disease.
- Have high blood pressure.
- Have COPD or other severe chronic lung disease.
- Have cardiac disease.
- If you have severe symptoms that cannot be managed at home.
- If you have tested positive for COVID more than 90 days ago.
If you want to test at home and do not fall into one of the categories listed above, you can pick up a test kit free of charge at any Northern Store, or at the Fieldhouse or City Hall in Yellowknife.
List of treatments or conditions that would indicate moderate to severe immune compromise:
- Active treatment of cancer or other hematologic malignancy
- Recipient of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
- Treatment of leukemia with T cell therapy, or had a stem cell transplant within the last two years
- Moderate to severe primary B or T cell immunodeficiency (e.g.: Di George Syndrome or Wiskott-Alrich Syndrome)
- Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection or diagnosis of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Active treatment of active disease (neurological, autoimmune, neoplastic) with any of the following immune suppressive therapies:
- Corticosteroids at doses equivalent to or greater than prednisone 20mg/day for greater than 14 days
- Anti-B cell therapy (e.g.: rituximab/Rituxan, belimumab/Benlysta, etanercept/Enbrel, tocilizumab/Actemra)
- Alkylating agent therapy (e.g.: carboplatin, chlorambucil, cisplatin, cyclophosphamide)
- Systemic antimetabolite therapy (e.g.: 6-mercaptopurine, 5-fluorouracil, gemcitabine, cytarabine, pemetrexed, methotrexate)
- Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor therapy (e.g.: infliximab/Remicade, etanercept/Enbrel, adalimumab/Humira)
- Other biologic therapy (e.g.: ustekinumab/Stelara)
If people have symptoms they should stay at home and avoid spreading illness – COVID or otherwise – to other people. The NTHSSA is recommending people who test positive for COVID limit their contacts until:
- It has been at least 10 days since your positive test or symptoms started and
- Your symptoms are improving
If someone in your household tests positive, we recommend that you limit your contacts for 10 days. Self-monitor for symptoms, avoid going to work or out in public. If you must leave your home, please wear a mask and socially distance from others. It is a good practice to wear a mask for a full ten days after the onset of symptoms or after testing positive. It is important to avoid or minimize contact with others in this 10 day period especially for vulnerable people and avoid high risk activities and gatherings.
If you develop symptoms and they do not improve after 5 days, or worsen, or if you are concerned, book an appointment at a clinic or health centre and remain in home until assessed by a healthcare provider.
Downloadable PDF: Rapid Antigen At-Home Test Kit instructions
Free rapid antigen tests are available through North West Company and Arctic Co-op grocery stores in the following locations:
- Fort McPherson
- Fort Simpson
- Fort Liard
- Fort Providence
- Norman Wells
- Hay River (including K'atl'odeeche First Nation)
- Fort Resolution
- Fort Smith
- Sachs Harbour
- Lutsel K’e
- Colville Lake
In Yellowknife, testing kits are available at the City Hall and Field House. For all other NWT communities, arrangements are in progress to deliver testing kits at this time. Click here for more information on the federal government testing kit program.
If you need access to COVID testing, especially if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or flu-like, but are well enough to stay home, please stay home to limit your contacts and call your local health centre to arrange testing.
To book COVID testing in Yellowknife, visit the online booking page here.
Outside Yellowknife, please call your local health centre
Yellowknife COVID Testing
Yellowknife COVID Testing Site Hours
8:30AM - 4:00PM
9:00AM - 11:00AM
NOTE: testing site closed on statutory holidays
The COVID Testing site is located at 108 Archibald Street (across from the Folk on the Rocks parking lot, google map link).
If you do not have transport, travel can be arranged with a local taxi service. Upon arrival at the testing site, advise the taxi to wait and you can go inside and request a voucher from the clinic staff to bring back out to your driver.
By using the online booking service and providing your contact information, you are consenting to the collection of this information by NTHSSA as well as the provider platform. The information you provide is used by NTHSSA to facilitate your appointment for COVID testing, and may be shared with your health care provider for future services. All information held is encrypted to their servers and will not be sold to any third-parties. For all privacy and security concerns, please email NTHSSAFeedback@gov.nt.ca.
If you do not wish to use the booking form, you can call public health at 767-9120 for appointment information.
Your result will be communicated over the phone after your appointment.
If you need a copy of your test result, you must request it through the health records request process.
Letters confirming a positive COVID-19 diagnosis are no longer being issued. Individuals who require a COVID-19 recovery letter for personal leisure travel can request this service from a private organization that offers this service.
If you need a test for travel plans you need to coordinate it through a private provider yourself, a fee is likely required. Within the Northwest Territories 62 Degrees North and Advanced Medical Solutions provide testing for travel purposes, for a fee. This testing is also available in southern locations, specifically via Dynalife Labs in Alberta and may be available through other providers.
The NTHSSA offers COVID-19 testing to all patients when they are admitted to hospital or before certain procedures (endoscopies, all surgeries including same-day surgeries, sedations, pulmonary function tests, and exercise stress tests).
This testing is important to ensure patients receive the best care based on their condition and to protect all patients and staff in the facility. Testing will help us:
Provide the best care to the patient being admitted or receiving a procedure. Since COVID-19 could negatively impact the outcomes of surgeries or procedures, it is important to know if someone has a COVID-19 infection so the healthcare team can provide the best care and advice about the risks, benefits or need for additional or delayed treatments or procedures. If you have COVID-19, the outcomes from your surgery or procedure could be worse.
Provide information to make the best decisions about where patients should be treated across our facilities. Patients with COVID-19 infections may best be cared for in a different community, for example it may be safest to get treated in Yellowknife rather than at a regional hospital or in a part of the hospital with different resources available.
Take steps to keep other patients and staff safe and to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.
Testing is voluntary but highly encouraged, and patients with questions or concerns should ask their healthcare team about how testing may reduce risks and improve their care.