Treatments and tests

COVID-19 testing

UPDATE: From 15 July, the public COVID clinics at Fiona Stanley Hospital, Armadale Health Service, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and St John of God Midland Public Hospital will close. PCR testing will continue to be available at other sites across WA.

Get tested for COVID-19 early – people are most infectious early in the illness.

COVID-19 can cause a range of symptoms, which can be mild, moderate or severe. Get tested if you have any of the following, no matter how mild:

  • Fever (≥37.50C) OR recent history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills), without a known source
    OR
  • Acute respiratory symptoms (including cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose)
    OR
  • Acute loss of smell or taste

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.


Who is most at risk of COVID-19?

All people are at risk of infection, but some groups are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill. These groups include:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions
  • People 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions. See this page on the Department of Health website for more information
  • People 70 years and older
  • People with compromised immune systems.
  • People who are unvaccinated

For the most up to date information on who is most at risk of COVID-19 please see the following:

Testing and isolation protocols

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

  • Isolate for 7 complete days.
  • This means 7 x 24 hours.
  • For example, if you became a close contact or a case at 11.45pm on 7 February 2022, your isolation period will not finish until 11.45 pm on 14 February 2022.
  • At Day 7, if symptoms are still present, continue isolating until symptoms clear.
  • If no symptoms are present after Day 7, you can leave isolation. No testing is required.

If you are a close contact, you must:

Notify your employer, educational institution or early learning centre that you are a close contact and undergo a 7-day isolation period.

Close contacts with no symptoms

Close contacts with no symptoms may leave the home during their 7-day isolation period, provided that you have obtained a negative result from a rapid antigen test undertaken on each day on which you propose to leave isolation. You must:

  • 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
  • avoid high-risk settings, including hospitals, healthcare settings, disability and aged care facilities, and correctional facilities
  • avoid non-essential gatherings and contact with people at risk of severe illness
  • work from home, where possible

Close contacts with symptoms

  • Close contacts with symptoms must continue to isolate until symptoms resolve and get tested as per existing protocols.
  • Once symptoms have resolved, close contacts who are not cases should follow the protocols for close contacts with no symptoms (see below) for the balance of the 7-day isolation period.
  • If a close contact tests positive, they must isolate for 7 days after their positive test result and follow the requirements for positive COVID-19 cases.
What does a COVID-19 PCR test involve?

A swab will be inserted into the back of your throat and then through your nose by a qualified practitioner. This procedure lasts 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.

Can I get a PCR test if I do not have symptoms?

Asymptomatic testing is permitted under certain circumstances, such as people who are required to be tested under a Direction or who have been advised by public health to get tested.

COVID-19 tests for the purposes of international visa requirements, or work clearances are not available at public COVID clinics. For these tests a GP referral or pathology form is required for testing at a private pathology clinic.

Where can I get a PCR test?

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.

COVID-19 tests for the purpose of international visa requirements, or work clearances are not available at public COVID clinics at any time. They can be arranged through a private pathology collector (the cost for these tests is to be paid for by the individual or employer).

COVID-19 PCR testing in regional and remote WA

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

COVID-19 PCR testing in regional and remote WA
GP respiratory clinics

The Australian Government has established GP respiratory clinics around the country to clinically assess test and diagnose people with mild to moderate respiratory conditions including COVID-19 symptoms (including but not limited to a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat, and/or tiredness).

They also offer free treatment for people diagnosed with COVID-19, and some clinics offer COVID-19 vaccinations. The clinics are GP led and offer services for adults and children.

There is no cost to the patient and no referral is required, however bookings are essential.

People with any COVID-19 symptoms are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to attend the clinic.

For more information and to find a clinic in WA, visit the GP respiratory clinics (external site) page.

Frequently Asked Questions

My child has COVID-19 symptoms. How should they be tested?

A child of any age who has COVID-compatible symptoms should be tested. A rapid antigen test (RAT) is generally suitable for children over the age of 2 years (see the information provided with the RAT kit to be used).

If a RAT is not suitable, and the child is symptomatic, a PCR is appropriate and arrangements should be made for this to occur. If the only option is for the COVID-positive parent to take the child to a testing clinic, the parent can seek permission to leave isolation for this purpose by calling 13 COVID.

Can I get a PCR test for employment purposes?

PCR tests that are required by employers for confirmation or evidence of COVID-19 infection by employees (for example, to enable access to COVID leave) are not available at public COVID clinics.

These tests require a GP referral or pathology form for testing at a private pathology clinic, with the cost of the test to be paid by the individual.

Why are WA’s testing numbers inconsistent throughout the week?

Testing figures tend to reduce over the weekend and increase during the week.

My child just had a PCR test. What should we do now?

Following a PCR test, take your child home to quarantine until you receive their test results

If your child has tested positive through a PCR test or RAT, refer to the:

I have registered a positive rapid antigen test (RAT) result online but have not been contacted by WA Health. What should I do?

Public Health do not call all people who register a positive RAT result.

After registering a positive RAT within your isolation period, you will receive an SMS from WA Health asking you to complete a brief survey. It is important to complete the survey so people who need assistance can be identified. If you do not complete the survey, you will be issued with a reminder.

It can take up to 24 hours to receive an SMS after completing the registration form.

If you test positive via a PCR test, you do not need to register your result online. You will receive 2 messages from:

  • the laboratory confirming your positive result
  • WA Health with a link to the survey.

See the Testing and isolation guide

How can I identify a scam SMS following a COVID-19 test result?

A few scam messages are being received regarding COVID-19 test results.

  • WA Health SMS messages and links will not ask for your Driver’s Licence, Medicare, My Health Record, MyGov or MyGovID or other personal details.
  • An SMS from a testing clinic will not indicate that WA Health will contact you within 24 hours.
  • WA Health will only SMS you after the laboratory SMS confirming your positive result. The message from WA Health will ask you to complete a brief online survey.

I tested positive using a RAT and would like to apply for the COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment, but I can’t get a PCR test. How will I access the payment?

You are not eligible for the Test Isolation Payment. Only workers who are required to isolate while waiting for test results following a COVID-19 PCR test are eligible. 

See more information about the COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment: COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment to be introduced (www.wa.gov.au)

Commonwealth Government support is available if you can't earn an income because you or someone you’re caring for has to -isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. See the Services Australia website for more information.

I have tested positive for COVID-19. Should I continue to test throughout my isolation period or before I leave?

Following a positive COVID-19 test, further testing during the 7-day isolation period or to guide exit from isolation is not routinely recommended.

This is because release from isolation is based on clinical criteria, and does not depend on a test result. In addition, a person may continue to test positive for some time after they are no longer infectious because of shedding of dead virus.

Last reviewed: 24-06-2022

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.