COVID-19 Coronavirus: Testing for COVID-19

Information you need to know regarding testing for COVID-19.
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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 that’s when you’re most infectious. 

Types of COVID-19 tests

Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)

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.

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 a PCR test

Find where to get a PCR test at the Department of Health, including opening days and times and locations if you live regionally or remotely.

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