Updated: December 3, 2020, 4:00 p.m. EDT
Swabs taken at assessment
centres in Ottawa on December 2
Assessment centres open this this week
Assessment centre highlights
Updated turnaround time data
To date, the Taskforce has reported the Ottawa region’s average turnaround time from the time a
COVID-19 test is received at the lab to the time of reporting. In an effort to better evaluate, identify and
address potential issues, the Taskforce will also begin to report the turnaround time from the time the
swab is taken at a testing site to the time it is reported by EORLA.
An important message, from our family to yours
Ottawa’s health care community has come together to protect you and your loved ones. Meet the faces
of Ottawa’s COVID-19 testing efforts and hear their simple message “get tested, it’s simple.”
Watch and download the video here.
Who is eligible to get a test at an assessment centre?
Ottawa’s assessment centres and labs continue to have capacity to serve our city's residents and produce timely results. We urge Ottawa residents to book an appointment if they meet the following criteria:
You are showing COVID-19 symptoms OR
You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health, or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app OR
You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health OR
You are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care
If you are in distress (e.g., significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to an assessment centre or a COVID-19 Care and Testing Clinic. Go to the nearest emergency department or call 9-1-1.
Booking a test for those without internet
It is critical that all members of the Ottawa community have access to a COVID-19 test, including residents at a greater risk and individuals who do not have access to the internet.
For those requiring extra support for accessibility reasons, sites have a phone number that can be used to book an appointment. Please note that the following phone numbers are reserved for Ottawa residents who need to book an appointment for a COVID-19 test and who do not have access to the internet:
Additionally, individuals who do not have phone or internet access may book a future appointment in-person at an assessment centre. People experiencing homelessness, who are unable to book an appointment and meet the criteria for testing, may be tested at the assessment centre during regular hours of operation.
Residents should not go to the emergency department for COVID-19 testing.
Encouraging Ottawa’s residents to get a COVID-19 test
In recent days, Ottawa’s assessment centres have seen a drop in the number of residents getting tested for COVID-19. Testing is the only way to confirm if you have COVID-19. This is important to protect your family and the people you encounter. Testing also tells us how much the virus is circulating in the community and to inform actions to prevent further spread. Ottawa’s COVID-19 Testing Taskforce is urging any resident who needs a test to book an appointment immediately.
Ottawa’s assessment centres have capacity to serve our city’s residents. If you need to make an appointment to get a COVID-19 test, there will be one available to you at one of Ottawa’s testing sites. Additionally, with the move to appointment-based testing, there are no longer long lines or wait times. Ottawa’s labs have also significantly cut down the number of backlogged tests and results are being turned around in as little as 24 hours.
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or if you were alerted of a high risk contact by Ottawa Public Health or through the COVID Alert App, book an appointment immediately. You are putting your loved ones and community at risk by waiting a day or two days to see if your symptoms improve.
Our actions over the next few weeks will ultimately shape Ottawa’s next few months. We are all in this together and we all play an important role in keeping each other safe.
For more information
Other Public Health Units in the Champlain Region:
For media inquiries:
About the Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce
The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce coordinates COVID-19 testing efforts across the city. Our work is based on guidance provided by Ontario Health, as part of carrying out the provincial government’s testing strategy.
We recognize the demand for testing has accelerated. Members of our community — including parents, long-term care home visitors and essential workers — need a clear and consistent source of information when it comes to where to get a COVID-19 test, and who should get tested.
To meet this growing and important need, the Taskforce will publish Ottawa’s Daily Testing Update to keep the community up-to-date on ongoing testing guidelines and informed about any new directives or changes to Ottawa’s assessment centres.
Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce members
City of Ottawa, Office of Emergency Management
Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association (EORLA)
Kids Come First Health Team
Ottawa Community Health Centres
Ottawa Health Team - Équipe Santé Ottawa
Ottawa Public Health
Public Health Ontario Laboratory (PHOL)
Queensway Carleton Hospital
The Ottawa Hospital
 Testing data compiled from Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association (EORLA), Public Health Ontario Lab (PHOL) and Bio-Test
 EORLA data only
 The positivity rate is reported in alignment with Ottawa Public Health (Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard, page 5)
 Average turnaround from the time the test is received at the lab to the time of reporting (EORLA data only)
 Average turnaround from the time the swab is taken at a testing site to the time of reporting (EORLA data only)
 Lab capacity is predicted daily based on the availability of staff, equipment and supplies