Treatments and tests

COVID-19 testing

You should be tested if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

It's important you get tested early, as that's when you're most infectious.

COVID-19 can cause a range of symptoms, which can be mild, moderate or severe and can include:

  • fever (≥37.50C) or recent history of fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • loss of smell or taste.

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are a convenient, safe and fast way to test for the disease. PCR testing is also available.

From October 1 2022, a referral from a GP or other medical practitioner will be required for PCR testing at clinics run by private pathology providers. Public COVID clinics will offer PCR testing without a referral for people with COVID-like symptoms and asymptomatic close contacts to meet their testing requirements during isolation. 

If you are symptomatic and take a RAT or PCR test, you must isolate until you receive a negative result.

If you have a negative RAT test, but are still concerned you may have COVID-19, test again after 24 hours. Even if your result is negative, you should stay home until your symptoms resolve to prevent spreading the illness to others.

For more information on what is most appropriate for you, please see below.

Call the coronavirus (COVID-19) information helpline on 13 COVID (13 26843)

(Interstate callers: 1800 595 206. International callers: +61 8 9118 3100.)

COVID-19 testing clinics

Find out where to get tested in WA.


Testing and isolation protocols

If you are a confirmed COVID-19 case, you must:

  • Isolate for 5 complete days from the time you took your test 
  • This means 5 x 24 hours.
  • For example, if you became a close contact or a case at 11.45 am on Monday 12 September 2022, your isolation period will not finish until 11.45 am on Saturday 17 September 2022.
  • At Day 5, if symptoms are still present, continue isolating until symptoms clear.
  • If no symptoms are present after Day 5, you can leave isolation. No testing is required.
  • not enter high-risk settings for at least 7 days after you test positive. High-risk settings include hospitals, healthcare settings (where face-to-face services are provided), and disability, mental health and aged care residential facilities.

Mask wearing is recommended in indoor settings for two days after a 5-day isolation period (Day 6 and Day 7).

If you are a close contact, you must:

Notify your employer or educational institution that you are a close contact. Your 5-day close contact period begins from:

  • For household contacts: the date the positive case took their test, regardless of whether more household members return a positive result during your isolation period.
  • For other close contact: the last time you had contact with the person who tested positive.

Close contacts with no symptoms

Testing

You must take a PCR test on Day 4 or RAT on Day 5

  • If negative, you can leave isolation after Day 5
  • If positive:

Leaving isolation

Close contacts with no symptoms may leave the home during their 5-day isolation period, provided that they have met certain conditions.

Close contacts with no symptoms must:

  • obtain a negative result from a rapid antigen test undertaken on each day on which you propose to leave isolation
  • be able to provide photographic evidence of a negative result from a rapid antigen test taken by you on that day
  • wear a mask including from when you leave home until you return
  • not enter high-risk settings, including hospitals, healthcare settings, and disability, mental health and aged care residential facilities, for 7 days from becoming a close contact (e.g. the 5-day close contact period and for two days after completing isolation).

If they work in a high-risk setting, they can attend work if they have received written or oral confirmation from their employer and meet other requirements:

  • advise their employer that they are a close contact, and receive confirmation from their employer that they agree to the person attending work,
  • be fully vaccinated,
  • return a daily negative RAT prior to leaving home,
  • actively monitor for symptoms,
  • leave the workplace and return home immediately if they develop symptoms or test positive,
  • only remain at the high-risk setting for the purpose of their work duties,
  • wear a surgical mask at minimum (in addition to other PPE the employer reasonably requires),
  • not share break areas with any other person in the high-risk setting, and
  • use reasonable endeavours to maintain a physical distance of 1.5m from other people in the workplace.

Close contacts with no symptoms are strongly encouraged to:

  • avoid non-essential gatherings and contact with people at risk of severe illness
  • work from home, where possible.

Close contacts with symptoms

  • Take a PCR or RAT as soon as you develop symptoms
  • If the RAT returns a negative result, repeat the test 24 hours later
  • If a close contact tests positive, they must isolate for 5 days after their positive test result and follow the requirements for positive COVID-19 cases.
  • If your PCR test or your first RAT was on Day 5, you must continue to isolate until you are informed that the PCR returned a negative result or until your second RAT returns a negative result
  • If your PCR or second RAT were negative prior to day 4, you must still take a PCR test on day 4 or RAT on day 5.

  • Close contacts with symptoms must continue to isolate until symptoms resolve
  • Once symptoms have resolved, close contacts who are not cases should follow the protocols for close contacts with no symptoms (see above) for the balance of the 5-day isolation period
Last reviewed: 09-09-2022

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.