COVID-19 Coronavirus: Testing for COVID-19

Information you need to know regarding testing for COVID-19.
A positive Rapid Antigen Test

Regular testing is important to help reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

When should I get tested for COVID-19?

It’s important to do a rapid antigen test (RAT) if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or are a close contact. Test early, as we are most infectious early on in the illness. 

What type of COVID-19 tests can I take?

Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)

Alternatively, you can take a rapid antigen test (RAT) at home, which provides a result within 15 to 30 minutes. There are two types of RATs:

  • Saliva test – user spits into a tube, or sucks on a swab
  • Nasal swab – user swabs each nostril

A RAT takes approximately one minute to complete and can be done by yourself or another person on your behalf.

It is compulsory to register a positive test result online here, you will be required to enter the date and time of the test, personal details and a contact phone number. WA Health will contact the COVID-19 positive person with information about isolation.

RAT kits are available for purchase from supermarkets, pharmacies and other retailers.

Visit the Rapid Antigen Tests page for more information.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test

A PCR test is fast and highly accurate in testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. 

A swab will be inserted into the back of your throat and then through your nose by a qualified practitioner. This is a fast procedure, lasting less than a minute. It may cause some mild discomfort but is not painful. Your swab sample will then be taken to a laboratory to be tested for COVID-19.

Where to get tested

Testing is available at COVID testing clinics, regional public hospitals, health services and remote health clinics (where COVID clinics are not available); and, private pathology centres. For locations and opening days/times please visit the COVID clinics page (external link).

A referral from a GP or other medical practitioner is now required to access PCR testing at clinics operated by private pathology providers.

Find out where to get tested (external link) if you live regionally or remotely.

When will I receive my PCR test result?

If you have not received your result after 48 hours, call the Results Hotline on 1800 313 223 (Monday to Sunday 8am-4pm) for your result.

If you were referred for a test by your GP or a private provider, contact them directly.

If you have been tested in a regional or remote area, please be aware there may be a delay in receiving your result.

If you have been to a private pathology collector and have not received your results after 72 hours contact the following for your results:

Page reviewed 14 October 2022