Print

Testing and fever clinics — coronavirus (COVID-19)

What type of test do I need?

We use two types of tests to detect COVID-19 in Queensland, PCR test, which are carried out at testing clinics and Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) which can be done at home. This tool can help you find the right test for your situation.

Question Id Question TestResponseNext
Q1

Do you have any COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes Q4CASE
   No Q2
Q2

Are you a close contact of someone with COVID-19?

Yes Q4CASE
   No Q3
Q3

Are you currently in home quarantine and have been asked to take a test before you leave quarantine (e.g. as an overseas traveller)?

Yes Q4RAT
   No OutcomeNone
Q4CASE

Have you been released from isolation (as someone who had COVID-19) in the last 4 weeks?

YesOutcomeClearedCase
  NoQ4RAT
Q4RAT

You can take a rapid antigen test (RAT)

Currently, a limited supply of RAT kits are available at a limited number of Queensland Health testing clinics for eligible people.

You can also buy RAT kits in retail shops and chemists. RAT kits are currently in low supply due to the sudden high demand but are expected to become more readily available in the next few weeks.

Find out more about the RAT kits that will be available for people with concession cards.

Do you have a rapid antigen test (RAT)?

Yes Q5RAT
   No OutcomePCR
Q5RAT

What's the result of your rapid antigen test (RAT)?

PositiveOutcomeRATPositive
  NegativeOutcomeRATNegative
  InconclusiveOutcomeRATInconclusive

You can take a Rapid antigen test (RAT)

Currently, a limited supply of RAT kits are available at a limited number of Queensland Health testing clinics for eligible people.

You can also buy RAT kits in retail shops and chemists. RAT kits are currently in low supply due to the sudden high demand but are expected to become more readily available in the next few weeks.

Find out more about the RAT kits that will be available for people with concession cards.


You do not need a COVID-19 test (PCR or RAT)

You only need a test (rapid antigen or PCR) if you:

In the meantime, see how you can Get COVID-Ready.


Positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result and next steps

If your RAT returns a positive result:

Note:

  • You do not need a PCR test to confirm a positive RAT result.
  • Most people will have minor, particularly if you are vaccinated and otherwise healthy.
  • See the first steps if you have COVID-19.


Negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result and next steps

If your RAT returns a negative result, it is likely you do not have COVID-19. Continue to monitor your health and get tested again if you develop any COVID-19 symptoms.

In the meantime Get COVID-Ready.


Inconclusive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result and next steps

If the result is inconclusive, repeat the test on a new kit.


Get a PCR test if you cannot get a rapid antigen test (RAT)

You should get a PCR test at a testing centre if you:

  • have COVID-19 symptoms and cannot get a RAT
  • are a close contact and cannot get a RAT
  • need a COVID-19 test to leave home quarantine and you cannot get a RAT.

If your PCR test is positive, immediately isolate and follow the first steps if you have COVID-19.

Note: You do not need to notify Queensland Health of a positive PCR test. The testing clinic will do that for you.


You had COVID-19 and were released from isolation in the last 4 weeks

If you have had COVID-19 you do not need to get tested for COVID-19 in the first 4 weeks after your release from isolation.

If 4 weeks have passed since your release of isolation, you must get tested as you would have done before you had COVID:

  • if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or
  • if you are a close contact. After 4 weeks from your release of isolation, you must follow the close contact testing and quarantine requirements if you are identified as a close contact (ie someone in your household has COVID-19)

You must follow the isolation requirements if you get tested, after 4 weeks have passed since you where released from isolation, and your result determines that you have COVID-19.

You can get tested free of charge at any of the testing clinics listed on this page, including private pathology providers.

Read more about the cost of testing.

Please note that some pathology providers operating COVID-19 clinics in Queensland need to send the samples they collect to their testing laboratories interstate. This can affect turnaround times for a result, particularly during busy periods.

Queensland testing laboratories include:

  • Pathology Queensland
  • Clinical Labs
  • Genomics for Life
  • Mater Pathology
  • Queensland Medical Laboratories (QML)
  • Sullivan and Nicolaides (SNP)

It is recommended that you always check with your pathology provider about expected wait times for your area before attending.

When to get tested

If you’re feeling sick

Testing helps us to quickly find as many cases in the community as possible. This helps us to do everything we can to reduce the spread of COVID in the community.

If you have any of the following COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested, stay home and isolate until you get the result and your symptoms resolve:

FeverFever
CoughCough
Sore throatSore throat
Shortness of breathShortness of breath
Runny noseRunny nose
HeadacheHeadache
FatigueFatigue
DiarrhoeaDiarrhoea
Vomiting or nauseaVomiting or nausea
Loss of smellLoss of tasteLoss of smell and/or taste

Other symptoms people may experience include muscle or joint pain, and loss of appetite.

Call emergency services on 000 if you are very sick.

if you are experiencing breathlessness, chest pain, or severe light-headedness, seek medical attention.

If you are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case

If you are a close contact of a confirmed case, you need to follow the testing and quarantine requirements for close contacts.

If you are in home quarantine

If you are in home quarantine you may receive a text message from the Queensland Government requesting you to get tested for COVID-19 before you finish your quarantine period. This test can be done at home with a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).

Remember, you must remain in quarantine until the end of your quarantine period, even if you get a negative result.

Getting tested after having COVID-19

If you have had COVID-19 you do not need to get tested for COVID-19 in the first 4 weeks after your release from isolation.

If 4 weeks have passed since your release of isolation, you must get tested as you would have done before you had COVID:

  • if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or
  • if you are a close contact. After 4 weeks from your release of isolation, you must follow the close contact testing and quarantine requirements if you are identified as a close contact (ie someone in your household has COVID-19)

You must follow the isolation requirements if you get tested, after 4 weeks have passed since you where released from isolation, and your result determines that you have COVID-19.

Types of COVID-19 tests in Queensland

We use two types of tests to detect COVID-19 in Queensland:

The table below lists which test to use:

Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms and cannot get a RAT
  • If you are a close contact and you cannot get a RAT
  • If you need a COVID-19 test to leave home quarantine and you cannot get a RAT.

You no longer need a PCR test to confirm a positive rapid antigen test (RAT). See what you can do to be COVID-Ready.

Currently, a limited supply of RAT kits are available at a limited number of Queensland Health testing clinics for eligible people.

You can also buy RAT kits in retail shops and chemists. RAT kits are currently in low supply due to the sudden high demand but are expected to become more readily available in the next few weeks. You can see the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) list of rapid antigen test kits available in Australia and instructions for how to use them.

Find out more about RAT kits that will be available for people with concession cards.

Where to get tested

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you can take a test at home or visit a fever clinic or respiratory clinic.

At home

If you have a RAT kit, you can get tested at home. Read more information about getting and using a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).

Fever clinics

Fever clinics are specialist clinics managed by Hospital and Health Services that assess people who may be infected with COVID-19. These clinics help to keep people who may be contagious away from other areas of hospitals and health centres. This helps to reduce the potential spread of the virus and keeps the emergency department available for emergencies.

During peak periods the wait times at our fever clinics could be a few hours. If your nearest testing facility is experiencing delays, check other locations. Check opening hours before leaving home and bring water, a hat and sunscreen with you in case you need it.

Please remember to social distance while you wait.

Testing clinics are available for people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are unwell. If you feel well and require a test (e.g. planning to return to your home country) you can visit a GP to be referred to a private pathology provider and avoid coming into contact with people who are unwell at the clinic.

Respiratory clinics

Respiratory clinics are doctor (GP)-led clinics that provide face-to-face assessments, testing and treatment for people experiencing mild to moderate respiratory symptoms. This includes testing for COVID-19.

You should make an appointment at a respiratory clinic if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms. The clinics are for everyone, including children.

The clinics are free (no cost), even if you do not have a Medicare card. Bookings are required - find your nearest clinic and book your appointment via HotDoc or calling 1800 022 222.

Respiratory clinics are supported by PHNs (primary health networks) and funded through the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Find your nearest COVID-19 testing centre

Locations last updated on : Tuesday 25 January 2022


To find your closest COVID-19 testing location, view the below map, or contact your local hospital, or call 134 COVID (134 268).

Testing requirements update - 6 January 2022

You should only go to get a PCR test at these locations if you cannot get a rapid antigen test (RAT) and:

  • you have COVID-19 symptoms, or
  • you are a close contact, or
  • you need a COVID-19 test to leave home quarantine (e.g. as a close contact or overseas traveller).

You no longer need a PCR test to confirm a positive rapid antigen test (RAT). See what you can do to be COVID-Ready.

Cost of PCR test at these locations

You can get tested free of charge at any of the testing clinics listed on this page, including private pathology providers.

Read more about the cost of testing.


About the PCR testing process

PCR testing for COVID-19 involves collecting nasal (inside your nose) and throat swabs, and/or sputum (mucus coughed up). These samples are then transferred to the nearest laboratory that is set up to test for COVID-19.

If you are tested for COVID-19 but aren't really sick, you will be sent home to isolate while you wait for the test results. This may take several days.

If you are really sick you may be admitted to hospital for treatment. If you become sicker while you are waiting for results, please contact your doctor or call an ambulance. Make sure you let them know you are waiting for test results for COVID-19.

If the result is positive, you will receive a call from a public health doctor or nurse who will tell you what to do next.

If the result is negative, your doctor or the clinic that tested you may let you know. Depending on where you got tested, you may just receive an automated SMS. If you have been issued with a notice telling you to self-quarantine, you must stay in self-quarantine until the end date written on the notice, even if you get a negative result. This is because you may still develop COVID-19 infection.

If you are waiting on a test result, the people you live with and other close contacts do not need to be in quarantine unless the local public health unit tells them to. They should stay away from the sick person as much as possible. If the test result is positive, they may be assessed as a close contact and will then need to be in quarantine.

To find out more about testing and what is involved, read our blog post Everything you ever wanted to know about PCR testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) in Queensland

Cost of testing

All Queensland Health operated clinics and private pathology laboratories listed on this page provide free COVID-19 testing for anyone with symptoms, anyone who is a contact of a positive case as well as anyone following a quarantine or an isolation direction.

To support Queensland’s response to COVID-19, people who do not have adequate insurance coverage and are not eligible for Medicare will not be charged out of pocket expenses if they present to any Queensland Health facility (i.e. a testing location operated by Pathology Queensland) for assessment in relation to COVID-19 infection.

Most clinics will send you a text message to confirm your negative result. You can use this as proof of your negative result, as long as it includes:

  • when the sample was collected
  • that the test result was negative
  • date and time the text message was sent to the person
  • mobile phone number or pathology provider the message was sent from.

Usually, you’ll only need to pay a fee if you need a certificate to show your negative result. If you’re using a text message as proof of a negative result, you generally won’t need to pay for the test.

However, some PCR testing at private laboratories interstate may have a cost, so if you’re not sure, ask the testing clinic.

Still waiting for results

If you’ve been tested in a public Queensland Health facility and have not received a call or SMS notification and would like to follow up your negative test result, you can call Pathology Queensland on 1800 472 847.

Please wait at least 36 to 48 hours after your test was collected. This service is available from Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 5.30pm and Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, 8.00am to 1.00pm. Hours may be extended during periods of expanded and surge testing.

Anyone who has had testing performed at Mater Pathology, QMLSullivan & Nicolaides Pathology, MedLab or 4Cyte Pathology can get their results from their referring GP or directly from the private pathology provider.