By Kathy McGrath

These days, there are many reasons for getting a test for COVID-19. You may be experiencing symptoms, you may be required to get tested for work or to enter certain buildings, or you may simply want to ensure vulnerable friends or relatives are safe around you. Whatever the reason, we have provided a simple guide for getting a test at one of the Scarborough Health Network locations.

  1. Pre-register online at Once you have opened the shn site, click the button that says “Pre-Register Here”. Fill in the form with the relevant information, including your health card number, preferred location (Birchmount or Centenary site) and the date you plan to get your test.
  •  With your health card in hand, proceed to the Step 1 Trailer outside your chosen hospital. The lineup may  be several hours long depending on when you go. You MAY avoid long line ups if you go earlier or later in the day. (Check online for service hours.) If you have mobility issues, it is advisable to take a light portable lawn chair that is easy to move. Fortunately, there is a portable washroom on-site.
  • Once you get to the trailer you will be asked to disinfect your hands and you will be ushered inside. A screener will ask you several questions and will direct you to the next step. (If you have symptoms, you may be directed to an on-site physician who will advise you on your situation, e.g. whether to self-isolate.) 
  • Proceed as directed to the “swabbing” area. You will be asked to sit in a cubicle-like setting attended by a friendly nurse who will explain the procedure.  You will be asked to tilt your head back as the nurse inserts the long swab into your nasal passage and swirls it a little bit. This DOES NOT HURT and only takes a few seconds. NOTE: the swabs are thinner and less bulky than they used to be.
  • You will be given a COVID-19 fact sheet that includes a website where you can check your lab results using your health card number. Results can take up to four days. Those who do not have internet access can check their results by phone through the public health number provided.
  • Wait patiently!

For more information, you can contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 or see the website

The whole experience was very positive

By Denise Bacon

My experience on getting tested for COVID-19 was very positive. I went to Centenary Hospital near the Emergency Department entrance at around 6:30 pm. There was no lineup so I went in right away.

The first person I met confirmed the information I had included in my online pre-registration form.

My temperature was taken and blood pressure checked. Then the slim swab was inserted into my nose for the actual test. The swab was turned inside my nose for about five seconds and it was over in a flash!

The whole experience was very positive, helped by wonderful staff at every step of the way. I got my results online two days after the test.

People need to pre-register for a COVID test and an appointment is necessary. Anyone who is concerned they may have COVID-19 or wishes to be tested for any reason is encouraged to go to the Assessment Centre. There is no cost but you are required to bring your health card or photo I.D. to the test site.