Checking for COVID-19
You should get tested for COVID-19 if any of the following apply:
- you exhibit symptoms consistent with the illness, even if those symptoms aren't particularly severe; or
- 35 days have passed since you had a positive COVID-19 test result, even though some states and territories recommend waiting 28 days; or
- if you have recovered from COVID-19 and then develop new symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of whether or not you have had contact with a confirmed case; or if you have recovered from COVID-19 and then develop new symptoms of COVID-19.
- A qualified medical expert has recommended that you proceed in this manner, so please do so.
BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS and determine whether or not you require medical assistance by using the COVID-19 Symptom and Antiviral Eligibility Checker.
Which version of the COVID-19 should I use?
In order to diagnose COVID-19, medical professionals in Australia use either polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests or rapid antigen tests (RATs). Both of these test types are available.
If any of the following apply to your situation:
- You run the risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19.
- You appear to be suffering from COVID-19.
- You received a positive result from a RAT, and now you must undergo a PCR examination to validate your result.
When should you make use of a RAT?
- You have a modest chance of developing severe COVID-19 illness.
- you have had contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, but you are not exhibiting any symptoms.
- Before going to a large event or visiting vulnerable people, you should get a COVID-19 test to make sure you don't have the virus.
- necessary for the screening program that either your school or your employer requires of you
It is possible that you will need to report a positive RAT result. Check the regulations set forth by the government of your state or territory.
Where can I obtain a COVID-19 examination?
PCR testing clinics in New South Wales will cease operations as of the 13th of May, 2023, the earliest possible date.
There will still be access to PCR testing in New South Wales, but patients will need a referral from their health practitioner.
Rapid antigen tests
You can purchase rapid antigen tests, also known as RATs, either over the internet or at local pharmacies and retail outlets. You are able to take the examination in the comfort of your own home.
In the event that you require a PCR test, you can get one through your primary care physician or nurse, who can place a request for you. You can also get a PCR test at a Respiratory Clinic that is led by a General Practitioner. If you belong to a priority group, you will be able to obtain one at a COVID-19 testing center that is run by the state or territory.
Visit the following website for further information regarding PCR testing arrangements in the states and territories:
If you cannot leave your home because you have a disability and need a PCR test, you can call the Disability Gateway helpline Call 1800 643 787 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Australian Eastern Time) Monday through Friday, excluding Australian national public holidays
You will be informed by the call handler regarding your eligibility to take the COVID-19 exam in the comfort of your own home. Visit the website at disabilitygateway.gov.au for any additional details.
How do the tests for COVID-19 work?
PCR tests, also known as polymerase chain reaction tests, are a specific kind of nucleic acid test. These tests determine whether or not the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for COVID-19, is present in the patient's body. PCR tests are effective at identifying the virus at an early stage of the infection, oftentimes even before a person exhibits any symptoms of having the disease.
Nucleic acid tests are notoriously difficult to carry out and are typically required to be carried out in a laboratory by trained professionals.
Rapid antigen tests
The presence of viral proteins can be determined with rapid antigen tests, also known as RATs. Because RATs are more accurate when people are experiencing symptoms, it is recommended that individuals take the test within the first week of experiencing symptoms.
The use of RATs does not require the supervision of a medical professional and can take place anywhere, including at home and at the workplace. The person who is being tested is the one who is responsible for collecting the sample, performing the test, and interpreting the results.
PCR tests are generally more accurate than RATs, which are generally less accurate.
Discover more about the quick antigen tests here.
Does a COVID-19 test cost
Free PCR testing is available to anyone who has a legitimate need for it. People who are in need of them are able to get them for free if their primary care physician or nurse requests one for them. They can also get them at GP-led Respiratory Clinics or at COVID-19 testing centers that are run by the state or territory.
The price of a single rapid antigen test ranges between $10 and $15 most of the time, but in some instances, it is completely free.
What preparations do I need to make before taking the COVID-19 exam?
A swab is taken from the back of your throat as well as from your nose in order to perform the COVID-19 test. You are not required to abstain from food in advance or bring any samples with you.
It is possible that you will require both a referral and an appointment in order to get a PCR test.
You will be required to bring your Medicare card with you; if you do not have a Medicare card, you will need to bring at least one other form of identification with you, such as your driver's license or student ID. In order to obtain your test results, you will additionally be required to provide your contact information.
Ask the staff how you will be notified of the results if you get tested at a general practitioner's office.
After your test, you need to make sure that you follow the directions given to you by either your primary care physician or the healthcare professional at the testing clinic. In the majority of instances, you will be instructed to return immediately to your home and wait for your results. Do not go anywhere public, including your place of employment or your school. Maintain proper hygiene by washing your hands frequently and covering your cough, and stay away from close contact with other people, including those in your own family.
If you choose to take a RAT, be sure to pay attention to the directions that come with it. It is imperative that you refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, brushing your teeth, or chewing gum for ten to thirty minutes prior to collecting saliva for a RAT. If you do any of these things, you may end up with an inaccurate result.
When will I find out the results of my PCR test for COVID-19?
Your primary care physician or the personnel at the testing clinic should be able to tell you how long it will take to receive the results of your test; typically, it takes between one and three days.
If the results of your test come back negative, the medical professional or clinic that performed the test will either give you a call or send you an SMS text message to let you know. If your test result is negative but you have had close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, you are required to follow the directions provided by the public health department of the state or territory in which you are located. Visit their website if you need any further information.
If the results of your test come back positive, a medical professional or a public health unit will contact you by phone or send you an SMS text message to let you know what steps you need to take next. You could also be questioned regarding the tracing of contacts.
The results of tests are not communicated to the National Coronavirus Helpline. Contact the clinic, general practitioner's office, or hospital where the test was performed if you have any questions regarding the outcomes of the examination.
What should I expect if the result of my COVID-19 test is positive?
In the event that your COVID-19 test comes back positive, you should refrain from leaving the house until your symptoms have subsided.
It is possible that people who have had contact with you, including members of your family and people you live with, will need to get tested for COVID-19 and follow the directions given by the public health agency. You should also follow the laws and recommendations that are provided by the government of your state or territory.
A positive RAT has been recorded.
In the event that you obtained a positive result from a RAT, you might be required to register your result or verify it using a PCR test. Find out more about the examination policies of each state and territory government below:
Should I convey this information to my closest associates?
People who are considered close contacts are those who:
- are sharing a home with someone who is infected with COVID-19; or
- have spent a total of four hours or more with a person in a home, health care facility, or aged care setting since the onset of their COVID-19 symptoms; or
- unless other conditions, as determined by each state or territory, are considered exceptional.
Learn more about personal connections here.
Learn to recognize mild, moderate, and severe symptoms of COVID-19, as well as the signs that indicate when you should seek medical advice from your primary care physician or another healthcare professional.Read moreSymptoms and when to get help Read more about the symptoms, as well as when you should seek help.
If a person has a mild case of COVID-19, they may be able to treat their symptoms in a manner that is analogous to how they treat a seasonal flu infection. Here is how to treat symptoms at home.Read moreTreating symptoms at home Learn more about how to treat symptoms at home here.
The most recent review was in April of 2023.
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If you're over the age of 4, it's advisable to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine. Children aged 6 months to 4 years old who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should also receive the vaccine. People over the age of 18 can get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if it has been more than 6 months since their