COVID-19 Testing - Evidence and Best Practices

Last Updated: June 25, 2020

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This Briefing Note was completed by the Research, Analysis, and Evaluation Branch (Ministry of Health) based on information provided by members of the COVID-19 Evidence Synthesis Network. Please refer to the Methods section for further information.


This note provides a summary of evidence sources and jurisdictional experiences on testing for COVID-19, including symptomatic and asymptomatic testing. It addresses the following questions: 1) who should be tested and with what frequency; 2) where should testing take place; 3) what part of the health system should lead the testing; 4) what is the rationale for testing decisions; 5) what approaches directly complement testing strategies; and 6) what are the testing capacities of non-Canadian jurisdictions. Information is also provided on the availability, accuracy, guidelines, benefits, and limitations of point-of-care diagnostic tests in Canada.

*The full version of the Briefing Note including Supporting Evidence and the Appendix can be accessed in the PDF file at the top of the page*

Key Findings

Analysis for Ontario:

Supporting Evidence

*The entirety of the Supporting Evidence section can be accessed in the PDF file located at the top of the page*

This section summarizes key findings on COVID-19 testing from relevant evidence documents, as well as testing experiences in Canadian provinces and territories and other countries. Additional details are provided in the Appendix.

The Supporting Evidence tables in the PDF file provide information on the following questions:

1. Who should be tested and frequency of testing?

2. Where should individuals be tested?

3. What part of the health system should lead testing?

4. What is the rationale for testing decisions?

5. What approaches directly complement testing?

6. What are the testing capacities of non-Canadian jurisdictions?


The COVID-19 Evidence Synthesis Network is comprised of groups specializing in evidence synthesis and knowledge translation. The group has committed to provide their expertise to provide high-quality, relevant, and timely synthesized research evidence about COVID-19 to inform decision makers. The following members of the Network provided evidence synthesis products that were used to develop this Evidence Synthesis Briefing Note: