YK drive-through Covid-19 test site reopens ahead of fall

Yellowknife's Covid-19 drive-through testing centre in September 2020
Yellowknife's Covid-19 drive-through testing centre in September 2020. Sarah Sibley/Cabin Radio

Yellowknife’s drive-through Covid-19 testing station reopened on Tuesday morning, with staff once again conducting nasal swabs on residents to test for the virus.

The testing centre is located off 47 Street, behind the Yellowknife Primary Care Centre. For now, said nurse Jenna Long, only people who are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 should attend.

Long says staff expect demand at the drive-through to increase in the coming weeks. The fall is set to bring an onset of symptoms that could be either Covid-19 or a cold or flu virus.

“People are a little bit more social and, with fall, historically, [it] has an increase in respiratory viruses with people moving indoors,” said Long.



If you are not sure whether or not you should be screened for Covid-19, contact public health.

The three main symptoms of Covid-19 are a fever, a cough (either a new cough or a worsening chronic cough), or shortness of breath.

Other symptoms can include headache, fatigue, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of sense of smell or taste, loss of appetite, muscle aches, or a general unwell feeling.

If you have one of the main symptoms or more than one minor symptom, Long says you should get tested.



The nasal tests being used still need to be sent to an Alberta lab for analysis, which can take up to six business days.

Asked whether people who are self-isolating can use the drive-through, Long said: “We would encourage anyone who has newly developed symptoms to come and get screened. The nurses that approach the vehicle do have full personal protective equipment.”

A nurse will assess people on arrival at the drive-through.

“So long as you meet the inclusion criteria for a swab – exhibiting symptoms – you will be offered the screening test,” said Long.

Walk or bike

You’re welcome to walk or bike to the drive-through. It’s not just for cars.

“We’re trying to increase access for as many people as possible,” said Long.

If you do come by car, stay in your vehicle and follow signs and instructions. The drive-through operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

The drive-through will remain open “as long as there is demand for it,” said Long.

The testing site ran for about seven weeks from the end of March to mid-May, with 257 swabs administeed.

This time around, the site is open from 8:30am until 4pm each weekday. That could expand to weekends if demand increases.