COVID-19 coronavirus: Testing and close contact frequently asked questions

Find answers to your questions about COVID-19 testing, isolation and close contact information.


Rapid antigen tests (RAT)

When should I use a RAT?

You should use a RAT if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.

You are also encouraged to use a RAT before visiting someone who is vulnerable, immunocompromised, or before visiting a high-risk setting, including a hospital or residential aged care or disability care facilities, even if you do not have symptoms. This helps to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. You may also consider using a RAT if you are attending a gathering with lots of people in a crowded indoor or outdoor place, such as a wedding or funeral.

If you are a close contact, you are required to undergo a RAT on particular days. 

My RAT result is negative, but I have symptoms. Do I also need a PCR test?

You do not need a PCR test if your RAT is negative. However, if you have symptoms, you can present for a PCR test at a public COVID Testing Clinic without a referral or visit your GP for a PCR referral to a private testing clinic.

You are strongly encouraged to stay home until your test result is received:

  • if positive – follow positive case guidelines
  • if negative – you are not required to isolate but are strongly encouraged to stay home until symptoms clear.

See the What to do if you have COVID-19 or are a close contact for more information.

How do I show evidence of a positive/negative RAT for work purposes?

Check with your employer about any policies or protocols they have in place for reporting RAT results.

Do I have to show a negative test result to return to work, after testing positive to COVID-19?

Once your symptoms have resolved, you do not need a negative COVID-19 test to return to work.

Isolation and close contacts

I am considered vulnerable to COVID-19, and now cases are no longer isolating. What can I do to protect myself?

To reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 it is important to continue healthy hygiene habits, including:

  1. Washing or sanitising hands regularly
  2. Wearing masks if required, if unwell, or if in crowded indoor spaces where you cannot physically distance
  3. Testing for COVID-19 if experiencing symptoms
  4. Staying up to date with vaccinations
  5. Contact your GP or healthcare provider for advice about whether you are eligible for COVID-19 treatments (such as antiviral medications) and plan what to do if you test positive for COVID-19

Please see further advice for people at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Now I am no longer required to isolate, would I still be able to apply for COVID Care at Home, or should I speak to my regular GP if I test positive?

You can still apply for WA COVID Care at Home. The program delivers home monitoring care for confirmed COVID-19 cases who require it due to having risk factors that put them at greater risk of requiring hospitalisation.

Antiviral medication is available to people at risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as symptoms start because the medication must be taken within the first 5 days of symptom onset.

Page reviewed 8 November 2022