How to test, and what to do if you test positive

Instructions for students, faculty and staff


Getting tested

If you have COVID symptoms, you should get tested for COVID as soon as possible. If you have been informed you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive, you need to wait 72 hours from exposure before completing your first test.

  • Complete the Nova Scotia COVID-19 self-assessment tool to determine which type of test you require. You can also call *811. Depending on your age and situation, you will be directed to either make an appointment for a PCR (lab) test or make an appointment to pick up rapid tests that you will complete on your own.
  • If you have your own supply of rapid tests you are using to test, make sure to follow the instructions below under “Your test results.”
  • For the definition of “close contact” and instruction, visit the Nova Scotia Health website.

Self-isolating while awaiting test results

  • If you have symptoms, you must self-isolate while awaiting your test results.
  • If you are a close contact but do not have symptoms, self-isolation instructions are different depending your vaccination status. Learn more here.

Your test results

  • If you test positive on either a PCR or a rapid test, you are considered COVID positive and need to follow the instructions below under “If I test positive.”
  • If you test negative on a rapid test, you must test again in 48 hours. A single negative rapid test cannot be used to rule out COVID-19.
    • If you have symptoms, you must keep self-isolating until your second negative result and your symptoms are improving. If symptoms are ongoing, continue to isolate. Repeat your rapid test every 48 hours until symptoms are improving. If you test positive, follow the instructions for “ If I test positive”  below.
    • Individuals who are close contacts may be able to leave self-isolation following one negative result depending on their vaccination status. Follow the instructions here.

If you test positive

Instructions for students

Whether your positive result is with a rapid test or PCR test, self-isolate immediately.

  • Follow the directions provided in this link: https://covid-health-checkin.novascotia.ca/ This link also provides you with instructions on how to self-isolate safely.
  • If you tested positive with a rapid test, you must must register with Public Health that you tested positive by emailing publichealthpoct@nshealth.ca. Please provide your full name, your date of birth, your preferred email address and the date you tested positive for COVID. The information you receive back will also be a resource for you while you are in self-isolation.
  • For information on what to do next and resources to help you navigate until you hear from Public Health, visit https://www.nshealth.ca/testedpositiveforcovid
  • Notify your close contacts. This helps keep others safe. For instructions, visit https://www.nshealth.ca/information-covid-19-close-contacts
  • If you are currently living in residence, you must contact the Residence Life team by phone (Halifax 902-220-9038 / Truro 902-956-0750) so we can immediately help support your self-isolation.
  • Ensure you follow your instructor and/or program’s policy to supporting student illness and missed classes.
  • Seek medical help if your symptoms get worse by calling Student Health & Wellness in Truro (902-893-6300) or Halifax (902-494-2171) during office hours. Outside of office hours, you can dial *811 to speak to a registered nurse.
  • For additional resources available to you (including counselling) in both Halifax and Truro, visit the Student Health & Wellness Centre website. You can also contact Good2Talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you would like to speak with a professional. 
  • Your self-isolation end date depends on your vaccination status:
    • Fully vaccinated: You can leave isolation full days after the start of symptoms (or test date, if no symptoms) if you have no symptoms, or if your symptoms are improving and you’ve had no fever for at least 24 hours. 
    • Not vaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised: You can leave isolation 10 full daysafter the start of symptoms (or test date, if no symptoms) if you have no symptoms, or if your symptoms are improving and you’ve had no fever for at least 24 hours.
  • If you have any other questions regarding Public Health requirements not covered in the resources above, you can contact Carolyn Bartlett, RN for Public Health-related concerns at Carolyn.Bartlett@dal.ca.

Instructions for faculty and staff

Whether your positive result is with a rapid test or PCR test, self-isolate immediately.

  • Follow the directions provided in this link: https://covid-health-checkin.novascotia.ca/ This link also provides you with instructions on how to self-isolate safely.
  • Report your case to Accessible Employment (902 219-1599, accempl@dal.ca).
  • If you tested positive with a rapid test, you must must register with Public Health that you tested positive by emailing publichealthpoct@nshealth.ca. Please provide your full name, your date of birth, your preferred email address and the date you tested positive for COVID. The information you receive back will also be a resource for you while you are in self-isolation.
  • For information on what to do next and resources to help you navigate until you hear from Public Health, visit https://www.nshealth.ca/testedpositiveforcovid
  • Notify your close contacts. This helps keep others safe. For instructions, visit https://www.nshealth.ca/information-covid-19-close-contacts
  • Seek medical help if your symptoms get worse.
  • Your self-isolation end date depends on your vaccination status:
    • Fully vaccinated: You can leave isolation full days after the start of symptoms (or test date, if no symptoms) if you have no symptoms, or if your symptoms are improving and you’ve had no fever for at least 24 hours. 
    • Not vaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised: You can leave isolation 10 full daysafter the start of symptoms (or test date, if no symptoms) if you have no symptoms, or if your symptoms are improving and you’ve had no fever for at least 24 hours.