COVID-19 Testing and Diagnosis
If you believe you have COVID-19, the first step is to get a test to diagnose it.
Self-testing is safe, gentle, easy to use, and provides results within 15 minutes. Self-tests only take a few seconds to collect a sample using a swab that goes into the soft part of each nostril. These tests can be done almost anywhere, at any time, to see if you may have COVID-19. If you are experiencing mild cold-like symptoms including cough, sore throat, sneezing without fever, it is recommended that you stay home, use rapid antigen testing and self-isolate based on those results.
For more information about self-testing, including:
- information about rapid antigen self-testing at home,
- locations for self-testing kits,
- what to do once you receive your rapid test results, and
- additional resources, visit Self-Testing - Government of Saskatchewan
PCR testing detects the presence of viral RNA. It is very accurate and efficient. This test is able to detect a COVID-19 infection even before the person becomes infectious and will allow early isolation.
For information about eligibility for PCR testing in Saskatchewan, visit Saskatchewan Health Authority PCR Testing - Government of Saskatchewan.
An antibody (serology) test tells if you have antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These antibodies may have developed in response to a previous infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus or in response to vaccination. This test is done using a sample of your blood. Serology tests aren't used to diagnose a current SARS-CoV-2 viral infection, since they don't detect the virus itself. A positive antibody (serology) test means that you have antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. The test cannot tell how long ago you may have been infected or determine if you're protected from reinfection as a result of previous infection. Antibody testing results cannot tell the difference between those who are vaccinated or previously infected with COVID-19. Positive antibody test results will only show that you've either been exposed to COVID-19 OR vaccinated OR both. It cannot tell you if you are protected from COVID-19.