Testing and screening

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Updated: January 19, 2022

Physicians should be aware of their professional obligations with respect to testing and screening for COVID-19.


My patient has asked me to provide a doctor’s note to confirm their COVID-19 positive status. How do I do this when I did not perform the test?

As the general public no longer has access to PCR tests, which are only reserved for those in high-risk settings, many patients are being asked to continue using self-administered rapid antigen tests (RAT). Because some patients may need a “doctor’s note” to document their infection to their employer or to access governmental benefits, some members may be asked to attest to the fact that their patients had a COVID-19 infection, despite not having been involved in the diagnostic testing nor having seen the patient at the time when they self-diagnosed with a rapid test.

Generally, treating physicians have a professional obligation to provide a medical certificate or letter, at the patient’s request. How should physicians respond to a patient who seeks a medical note attesting they had COVID-19 in such a situation? By providing FAST reports:

Factual: Make it clear what role you played and how you came about the information. For example, if you were not there when the test was conducted, you could say “The patient tells me they tested positive on a self-administered RAT” rather than “I confirm the patient tested positive for COVID 19”.
Authorized: The patient must consent to you providing your report to a third party.
Solid: Document the facts and circumstances relayed to you by the patient to support your report or letter.
Timely: Provide the document within a reasonable time frame, in the circumstances.

Additional resources on completing forms and medical certificates