My experience getting tested for COVID-19 in Toronto

Before I start writing about my experience, I want to make a few things very clear:

  • I did not have any COVID-19 symptoms
  • I do not have COVID-19 (test results below)

Most recently, Doug Ford announced that anyone can get tested for COVID-19 in Ontario:

It was a regular Sunday and I woke up with a little bit of nausea which went away immediately. But in these tough times, you never really know, so I decided to get a COVID-19 test.

Finding an Assessment Centre

As per the City of Toronto website, the closest centre for me was St. Michael’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre. They do not require any referrals, and it’s walk-in.

I took my mask and reached the centre at 10:00AM. It was a lovely day with the sun shining and a cool breeze of 12 degrees celsius. I took a few pictures along the way of the St. Michael’s Cathedral. I also, badly need a haircut:

On reaching the centre, I got to know that their weekend timings are 12PM to 6PM, so I roamed around for a bit and had a lovely conversation with a 95 year old woman who still volunteers as a swim coach at University of Toronto.

Assessment Centre Hours

At the Assessment Centre

I was second in line. As my turn arrived, they asked me to throw away the mask that I was wearing, sanitize my hands for 15 seconds and gave me a fresh mask.

Booth 1

After that, I was redirected to a counter where I had to give my personal information. This includes my health card number, address and phone number:

Booth 2

Next, I was told to go to Booth 2 where I was asked general questions about my travels and my contact with COVID-19 patients etc. I told them that I woke up with a light nausea that went away and I’m fine now. Based on the information, they highlighted some stuff on my COVID-19 information packet and asked me to wait until my next turn:

Booth 2

Booth 3

This is where I met Dr. Aisha Khatib who took my swab. She was assisted by Dr. Yuri who questioned me in booth 2. Unfortunately I could not get any photos here as it prohibited. I can still describe the experience though.

Before taking the swab, Dr. Aisha confirmed what I told to Dr. Yuri and explained the swab procedure. It’s basically a long Q-tip that goes up your nose. And boy, does it sting.

The swab itself is just a 2-3 second procedure, but they go deep up your nose - enough to make your eyes water. When she was done, it took me about 15 seconds to realize what had happened. All things aside, it isn’t as bad as it sounds.

After the swab was done, I was told that the results would be available in about 4 days at covid-19.ontario.ca. Here is a screen-grab of my results:

COVID-19 Test Results

COVID-19 Information Packet

When you go through testing, you get the following information packet, that includes a mask as well. As I was being questioned in Booth 2, Dr. Yuri highlighted the category I fall under (as shown below).

And that’s it! Hope this helps someone out there having second thoughts on getting a test. This is about protecting the health and safety of your loved ones.