COVID-19 testing

Get tested for COVID-19 early – people are most infectious when they first experience symptoms.

COVID-19 can cause a range of symptoms. These can range from mild illness to pneumonia. If you experience any of the below symptoms, no matter how mild, please get a COVID-19 test.

What are the symptoms and when should I get tested?

Get tested if you have any of the following:

  • fever of 37.5°C or above OR fever in the last few days (for example, night sweats or chills)
  • coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose
  • loss of smell or taste.

Under a testing direction

All people who people have been given a Presentation for Testing Direction (external site) or are subject to the Transport Freight and Logistics Direction (external site) must present for testing. More information about these Directions can be found in the drop downs below.

Where can I get tested?

Testing is available at COVID clinics, regional public hospitals, health services and remote health clinics (where COVID clinics are not available); and, private pathology centres. For locations and opening days/times please visit the COVID clinics page.

Testing in regional and remote WA

Find out where to get tested for in regional and remote areas of WA (PDF 1.5MB).

What does the test involve?

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 be taken to a laboratory to be tested for COVID-19.

Presentation for Testing Direction

People who have been given a Presentation for Testing Direction (external site) must present for “day 11” testing after arriving in WA (if they are not in a State managed centre/hotel).

People who need to present for “day 11” testing should attend a COVID clinic run by the Western Australian Department of Health or a health service provider, including:

  • in the Perth metropolitan area
  • at Albany Regional Hospital
  • at Broome Regional Hospital
  • at Bunbury Regional Hospital
  • at Geraldton Regional Hospital
  • at Port Hedland Regional Hospital
  • at Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital
  • at an emergency department of a public hospital that is located outside of the Perth metropolitan area and is not specified in this list.

If you need testing in a regional area, where there isn’t a COVID clinic, you should go to a public hospital emergency department, health service or remote health clinic.

Please remember, when you go for your test, you must wear a face mask (if available and appropriate) from the time you leave the place where you are in quarantine, until you return to that place.

View the Presentation for Testing Direction fact sheet (PDF 223KB)

Transport Freight and Logistics and Quarantine Centre Workers Directions

People who are subject to the Transport Freight and Logistics Direction (external site) are required to show evidence of having received a negative COVID-19 result in the past 5 days and must present for testing every 7 days if they are staying in WA. Testing can occur at a:

  • COVID Clinic
  • public hospital emergency department, health service or remote health clinic (If testing is required in a regional area, where there isn’t a COVID clinic)
  • Private Pathology collection centres. You do not need a GP referral if you are subject to the Transport Freight and Logistics Direction. The private pathology labs listed below currently offer this testing – please check their websites for times/locations:

Presentation for Testing Quarantine Centre Workers Directions (external site)

Information for Quarantine Centre Workers (PDF 160KB) apply to cleaners and security guards working at quarantine centres to present for COVID-19 testing at a COVID clinic.

Please remember, when you go for your test, you must wear a face mask (if available and appropriate) when in public or in the same room as other people.

DETECT Borders asymptomatic testing program

Testing for DETECT Borders

Workers who qualify for asymptomatic testing as part of DETECT Borders (PDF 388KB) can be tested at a Department of Health WA COVID-19 clinic in the metropolitan or regional area.

Workers include:

State Health Incident Control Centre (SHICC) quarantine hotels

  • Hotel employees (including contractors)
  • Health staff
  • Drivers of transport of quarantine guests
  • WA Police
  • Others, such as Australian Defence Force

*Security staff and cleaners working at the hotel are now subject to the Presentation for Testing (Quarantine Centre Worker) Directions.

Perth Airport     

  • Workers on-site at Perth airport in areas through which arriving passengers (or their baggage) transit including:
    • Perth Airport or airline staff
    • WA Police
    • Security
    • Federal agencies
    • Drivers of hotel quarantine buses
    • Other

Sea ports

  • Any employee or contractor involved in any function of a sea port that involves close contact with people arriving from overseas.

Eucla and Kununurra border crossings 

  • Any employee or contractor involved in any function at Eucla or Kununurra border crossings that requires close contact with people arriving from interstate.

The DETECT Borders program does not require you to isolate after testing. You can continue going to work and doing your usual activities, in keeping with the current advice in Western Australia. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 between testing and when your result is available, you should isolate whilst awaiting the result and seek medical advice, if needed. 

Note: testing as part of this program is not available at GP respiratory clinics or Private pathology collection centres.

After your test

You are required by law to self-isolate (unless you have been informed you do not, e.g. as part of an asymptomatic testing program such as DETECT Borders, DETECT Schools or DETECT FIFO or Transport Freight and Logistics Direction (external site).

After your test you must go directly home and you must stay home while waiting for your test results. You cannot have visitors to your home and you cannot go to the shops or go for a walk while you are waiting for your results. If you fail to self-isolate you can be charged and fined.

For more information see Self-quarantine in Western Australia for returned travellers, close contacts and those tested for COVID-19 (PDF 225KB)

When will I get my results?

If you have been tested at a COVID clinic, it will may take up to 3 working days for you to be notified of your test results. If you have been tested in a regional or remote area there may be delays in receiving your result.

If you have been tested at a private pathology centre or GP clinic, please contact the your GP practice or private pathology centre for information about when your test results will arrive.

COVID clinic test results

It can take up to three working days to receive your results via phone or SMS.

Call 1800 313 223 for your result if:

  • If you have waited more than three working days
  • You had a test at a public COVID clinic in WA or at a public testing facility in country WA.

Note: This number if Monday to Friday 8am-4pm.

If you were referred for a test by your GP or a private provider, contact them directly.

What if I get a positive test result?

A Public Health Unit staff member will discuss your positive result with you.

If you are a confirmed case of COVID-19 you must self-isolate until you recover and are cleared by the Department of Health to resume your normal activities (you will receive a formal letter of clearance from the disease). If you are well enough you can carry out your self-isolation in your home or other suitable accommodation.

What if I get a negative test result?

If you provided an Australian mobile phone number at the COVID clinic or are the parent/guardian/carer of a child under the age of 16 who is tested at a COVID clinic, your negative test result will be provided to you by text message.

Results are texted between 8am and 8pm daily. You must self-isolate until you have received a negative result.

  • If you have previously been directed to self-quarantine you will have to continue to self-quarantine for a total of 14 days even if the test result is negative.
  • If you have not been directed to self-quarantine and have received your negative result then you will no longer be required to self-isolate. You should stay at home until you are well. Physical distancing of 1.5 metres, cough etiquette and self-hygiene recommendations still apply.
Last reviewed: 23-11-2020
Coronavirus information helplines: 13 COVID (13 268 43). Interstate callers: 1800 595 206. International callers: +61 8 9118 3100.