Get a PCR test
Testing for COVID-19 is recommended for people with symptoms, no matter how mild.
People at higher risk of severe disease should contact their GP. If you can't access a GP, call the [email protected] team on 1800 973 363 to discuss testing options.
Testing as soon as symptoms start is very important for people who are eligible for antiviral medicine to treat COVID-19 and flu.
The medication must be started as soon as possible after symptoms begin.
Learn more about who may be eligible for medication to treat COVID-19 and how to access treatment
Learn more about who may be eligible for medication to treat influenza (flu) and how to access treatment
You can use a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or some people are recommended to get a PCR test. Read below who should get a PCR test.
If you believe you are at higher risk of severe COVID-19, you should talk to your GP about eligibility for COVID-19 treatments and create a plan for testing and fast access to treatment.
If you are at higher risk and cannot access a GP call the [email protected] team on 1800 973 363.
Factsheet: Testing for COVID-19 – what you need to know
Who should get a PCR test
You should get a PCR test when:
you are having difficulty using a RAT
you get an invalid result after taking a RAT. See Test results explained.
you get a negative RAT result and have ongoing symptoms
your GP or medical practitioner recommends you get a PCR test.
Public Health advise the following people are recommended to have a PCR test:
people who are at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and may be eligible for antiviral medication.
Where to get a PCR test
- Your local GP clinic may offer COVID-19, flu or RSV testing or provide a GP referral to a pathology service – referral is required to be covered under Medicare.
- If you are at higher risk of severe illness and cannot access a GP call the [email protected] team on 1800 973 363 to discuss testing options.
- Through your GP or [email protected] you may be provided with a self-collection test, see below for more information.
Self-collection PCR test
When you visit your GP, you may be provided with a self-collection testing kit for COVID-19.
This may be for immediate use if you have symptoms, or to take home to use if you get sick to ensure you can get tested quickly.
The kit will include instructions from the pathology service on how to collect a specimen with the self-collect swab.
Self-collection instructions for patients
For more information on GP referred self-collection speak to your health provider.
If you cannot access a GP, call the [email protected] care team on 1800 973 363 for assistance. They may help you to access a self-collection kit via referral to a pathology service.
Where to get more information
- Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738
- COVID-19 testing on the Healthdirect website
- [email protected]
- COVID-19 treatments