The west coast is joining other provinces in ramping up their novel coronavirus response even more. COVID-19 testing in B.C. is open to anyone with symptoms, as long as their doctors or health experts think it's necessary. This doesn't mean anyone can get it done — you shouldn't get tested if you don't have symptoms.

"We now have opened up testing to anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19," said Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical officer of Vancouver Coastal Health, in an online conference Friday, April 17.

The new changes were made on Wednesday, April 8, because laboratory capacities increased.

Daly said she released new info to clinicians at the same time, saying any physician can now order in COVID-19 tests if they think it's necessary.

"We advise clinicians that they can test a patient who presents with respiratory symptoms, or is concerned that they might have COVID-19," said Daly.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 that don't improve after five to seven days, you should contact your primary care physician. They can then order in a test for you.

Alternatively, you can call 8-1-1 to get referred for testing.

However, she continued that if you don't have symptoms, you should not get tested. In the early stages of the disease, there's a risk of it giving a false negative.

This is a major change from the province's earlier testing method, which reserved tests for health care workers, patients in hospitals, residents and staff of long term care facilities, or people being investigated as part of a new outbreak.

While these groups are still being prioritized, Daly said they're expanding to better flatten the curve, a move that's been made earlier by provinces like Alberta.

"We actually want to enhance availability of testing and make sure that anyone presenting with COVID-19 symptoms is offered a test," she said.

Symptoms you should look out for include fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell, runny nose, congestion, headache, and more.

Recently, the province has made great improvements in flattening the curve. They're even considering lifting some restrictions next month.

This time is still crucial, and we need to keep our guards up, said B.C.'s provincial health officer. But slowly, things are getting better.

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