A guide to COVID-19 testing in Winnipeg

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COVID-19 testing guide
Confused over where to get tested for COVID-19? Here's a guide to show you where you need to go – Jan 14, 2022

Manitoba has changed its COVID-19 testing criteria in response to the explosion of Omicron cases in the province.

In this article, you can find out whether you’re eligible for COVID-19 testing at a provincial site, where you can find the test you’re looking for and what wait times you can expect for getting tested and receiving your results.

Am I eligible to get tested?

In general, you can get tested for COVID-19 at one of the provincial testing sites if you’re experiencing symptoms of the illness — which include a cough, fever, chills and a sore throat, among others — but the type of test, either a PCR or rapid antigen test (RAT), for which you’re eligible may vary.

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You’re eligible for a RAT if you’re five and older with symptoms, if public health officials tell you to get the test or you’re an asymptomatic household contact of someone who’s tested positive and don’t need to self-isolate (e.g. you’re a close contact, but you’re double vaccinated and don’t have symptoms).

The eligibility criteria for a PCR test is much more specific. For a complete list, visit the province’s website.

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You’re eligible for a PCR test if you’re symptomatic and fall into one of the following categories:

  • you’re in hospital
  • your doctor says it’s important for medical management
  • you’re a child or someone else who can’t do a self-test or test at home.
  • you’re immunocompromised
  • you may be eligible for COVID-19 treatment
  • you’re experiencing homelessness
  • you’ve travelled outside the country in the last two weeks.

PCR tests are also reserved for select people who’ve tested positive on a rapid test. These include but aren’t limited to some school-age children, health-care workers and people working in childcare, education and congregate living or health-care facilities.

Manitobans living in or visiting First Nations communities are also eligible for a PCR test.

Where can I get tested?

Winnipeg has 11 testing sites, but some don’t offer both PCR and RAT.

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Those offering both types include the following:

  • 604 St. Mary’s Road (appointment required)
  • Drive-Thru Testing Site (1066 Nairn Ave.)
  • Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Testing Site (445 King St.)
  • MPI Drive-Thu Testing Site (1284 Main St.)
  • MPI Drive-Thru Testing Site (125 King Edward St.)
  • University of Manitoba (1 Research Rd.) (appointment required)
  • Walk-in Clinic at Garrick Centre (330 Garry St.)

Those offering PCR only include the following:

  • 1300 Redonda St.
  • Dakota Medical Centre (17-845 Dakota St.)
  • Minor Illness and Injury Clinic Drive-Thru Testing Site, hosted by Red River College (2055 Notre Dame Ave.)

The testing site offering only RAT is 820 Taylor Ave. (appointment required).

How long will I wait?

As of Friday, the province says you can expect to wait between 30 to 60 minutes or less to either get your PCR test done or pick up a RAT. However, wait times may vary depending on the site and time of day.

“The new site on Taylor for distribution of rapid tests is open and many appointments are available today (Friday) with little to no waiting,” a provincial spokesperson said.

Turnaround times for PCR test results run up to 48 hours, but this can also change depending on demand and lab capacity, they said.

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Click to play video: 'Manitoba’s COVID-19 numbers: January 14'
Manitoba’s COVID-19 numbers: January 14

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