Testing for COVID-19

When should I test for COVID-19?

You should test for COVID-19 if you have symptoms (common symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, nasal congestion and sneezing).

It is especially important to test early if you are at higher risk of severe illness or you are eligible for oral antiviral treatment, or you are in contact with or work with people who are at higher risk or eligible for antiviral treatment.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms but test negative, stay at home until you are well.

Find more information about managing COVID-19 at home (healthdirect website).

Which COVID-19 test should I get?

Rapid antigen test

Most people can do a rapid antigen test (RAT) at home.

You should use a rapid antigen test if you are at low risk of severe COVID-19 illness but have symptoms.

If you test positive using a rapid antigen test, your result does not need to be confirmed with a PCR test.

PCR test

If you test positive using a rapid antigen test, your result does not need to be confirmed with a PCR test.

PCR testing is recommended for people with COVID-19 symptoms who test negative using a rapid antigen test who are:

If you are at higher risk, make a plan with your GP or healthcare professional about what you should do if you get symptoms.

Your doctor may give you a referral for a PCR test or give you a PCR self-collect test to use if you get symptoms.

You need a GP referral to have PCR testing at select dedicated SA Pathology sites and private pathology providers.