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COVID-19 Testing for Select Groups

Please note: SickKids is not a public COVID-19 testing centre.

SickKids’ COVID-19 testing site offers testing for select groups with an appointment (e.g. child care centres, schools and children with medical complexity and developmental disorders). Tests are most often done at the recommendation of public health. Please see below for more information about who we provide testing to.

Who does SickKids offer COVID-19 testing to?

COVID-19 testing is recommended when a child has symptoms consistent with COVID-19; when a child is considered a close contact of a confirmed positive case(s) or there has been an outbreak and further testing is recommended by public health to gather additional information about possible COVID-19 transmission in a particular setting.

Children, youth and their families in various settings

SickKids offers COVID-19 testing services for children, youth and their families from places like child care centres, schools, shelters and congregate living centres across the Toronto region. SickKids offers low barrier testing to these groups, which includes methods that are less painful than the deep nose test. This could include a saliva (spit) test or the antenare (tip of the nose)/throat test.

Children with medical complexity and/or developmental disorders

SickKids, as well as Holland Bloorview, also support testing for children with medical complexity (CMC) and children with developmental disorders (CDD) in alignment with provincial testing guidance. These centres offer access to on-site paediatric resources and accommodations for mobility, communication, behavioural and other specialized health care needs.

How to book an appointment for children with medical complexity and/or developmental disorders

Call 416-419-4623 to book an appointment.
Hours: Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Sundays

How do I collect a saliva sample?

It is important that you follow these directions when completing your COVID-19 saliva test. Please watch the video, follow the step by step instructions below or download a PDF version.

Collection items: Saliva collection package (contains 1 cap and 1 saliva container) and a label to write your first and last name, and birth date. If applicable, include 1 laboratory requisition (for school or mobile testing etc.).

  1. If you have been sent a laboratory requisition please fully complete the form (for school, mobile, shelter etc. testing).
  2. Before doing your sample, DO NOT eat, drink, chew gum, smoke or vape for 30 minutes.
  3. Take the package out of the bag and open it by peeling the paper back. Inside you will see two pieces – a cap with blue liquid in it and a container with a funnel attached to the top.
  4. Keep the spit in your mouth without swallowing; then gently spit the saliva into the funnel container.
  5. You need to fill the container with enough saliva to reach to the black line that says ‘spit to here’ (ignore the bubbles). This may take a few minutes, so just keep working at it.
  6. Once you have collected enough saliva, twist off the funnel and throw it in the garbage.
  7. Place the cap with the blue liquid on top of the container. Push down hard and twist until the blue liquid mixes into the container.
  8. Gently shake the container 3-5 times to mix everything up.
  9. Complete the label with your full legal name and date of birth and stick it to the saliva sample container.
  10. Place the container into the bag it came in. If applicable, add the requisition to the bag. Please collect and drop off the saliva sample at your appropriate location within 24 hours of collection. It can stay in room temperature.

Coming to SickKids for a COVID-19 test

COVID-19 testing at SickKids is only available to those who have been referred. You will receive direct contact from your school, child care centre or other community partner if you have been referred to SickKids.

COVID-19 tests take place at the 555 University Ave. entrance SickKids is easily accessible by TTC, car or other transportation. If you have an appointment you may walk up or drive through the driveway to be tested.

SickKids does not offer COVID-19 tests to the general public. Do not come to SickKids for a COVID-19 test without an appointment.

For those eligible for a COVID-19 test at SickKids, you may access the testing centre through one of two options listed below. You do not need to go inside the hospital when you arrive – please follow the signs and wait outside for a member of our team to come and help you.

  1. If you are using public transport or walking to the hospital you will be seated outside or inside for the test.
    • Your child may remain seated in a stroller, on your lap, or on a chair.
  2. If you are driving to the hospital, please enter the driveway at 555 University Ave. from the South (closer to Elm St.)
    • Your child may remain seated in their car seat. You are welcome to move to the back seat to hold and comfort your child during the test.
    • You do not have to get out of your car. We will come to you!
    • You do not have to pay for parking. It is a drive through option!

How to prepare and comfort your child for a nasal swab test

All children will react differently to a COVID-19 test. These tips will help make the experience as comfortable as possible for your child.

Download a PDF copy of these tips (PDF)

Everyone working in the COVID-19 testing centre wears funny looking clothing called PPE (personal protective equipment). Let your child know these are like superhero outfits and protect health-care workers from getting and spreading germs to everyone. Masks, visors, gowns and gloves shield us from germs – remember everyone is smiling underneath.

Your nurse will use a long and skinny cotton swab to rub the inside of your child’s nose for five seconds.

Tell them to think of their nose as a deep cave and that the cotton swab can find the teeny-tiny germs hidden inside. Reassure your child they haven’t done anything wrong and the test is to help the nurse take care of them.

Hold your child in a way that lets them feel safe. Sit your child on your lap with their back to your chest. Give your child a hug from behind, with your arms crisscrossed on their chest.

For those eligible for a test at SickKids, you may access the testing centre through one of two options: drive-through or walk up. If you are using public transport or walking to the hospital you will be seated outside or inside and can help hold your child in a way that makes them feel safe.

If you are using our drive through option, your child may remain seated in their car seat. A nurse will come to the car window to talk to you and do the test. Parents are welcome to move to the back seat with their child to help hold and comfort them during the test.

Let your child choose what they would like to do during the test, for example:

  • Sing a song or count together.
  • Close eyes and picture something that makes them happy.
  • Watch a favourite video on your mobile phone or tablet.

It is important for your child to keep their head, arms and legs as still as possible. You can say things like: “Try to hold still like a statue.” “Let’s pretend we’ve been frozen like Elsa.”

  • A favourite stuffed animal, blanket or other comforting item
  • Electronic device such as a tablet or mobile phone for distraction
  • Pacifier for an infant

COVID-19 test results

When will I get my COVID-19 test results?

If your test is positive, you will be called in 24 to 48 hours

If your test is positive (+) you will receive a phone call from SickKids within 24-48 hours and Public Health within a few days with information and instructions about what to do next.

If your test is negative, you can check results online in a few days

If your test is negative (-) you will not receive a phone call and must wait for the results to be loaded to the Government of Ontario COVID-19 website or for our team to contact you with a number to access your results.

How can I access my COVID-19 test results?

Why didn't I get any results?

If you submitted a saliva test and the sample is not labelled, there is not enough saliva, or the requisition is not filled out, we will call you to let you know the specimen is unable to be processed.

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