Testing and fever clinics — coronavirus (COVID-19)

Testing criteria (updated 26 March)

A person is eligible for testing if they have a fever (or history of fever) or acute respiratory symptoms, and, in the last 14 days:

  • they were a close contact or a household contact of a confirmed case
  • they had been overseas, including on a cruise.

Testing is also possible for people who have a fever (or history of fever) or acute respiratory symptoms, AND:

  • work in vulnerable settings such as healthcare, aged or residential care, military, correction facilities, detention centres and boarding schools.
  • live in an area where an outbreak has occurred
  • live in a First Nations community.

If you are unwell and haven’t been overseas or in contact with a confirmed case, you may not be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19). Your doctor will make this assessment based on your symptoms.

If you meet the criteria for testing, you should contact a doctor immediately. Before your appointment, please call ahead and advise of your symptoms and recent travel they can prepare for your visit.

Testing process

Testing for novel coronavirus involves collecting nasal or throat swabs, and sputum (mucus coughed up). These samples are then transferred to the nearest laboratory that is set up to test for COVID-19.

After you have had samples taken, you will usually be sent home to self-quarantine while you wait for the results. This can take several days.

If you are very unwell 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 unit which will advise you what to do next. In many cases, you will need to stay at home in self-quarantine until you recover. If your condition becomes worse, you may be admitted to hospital in a quarantined area.

If the result is negative, you will be notified by the doctor who requested the testing.

Fever clinics

Fever clinics are specialist clinics for 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.

Fever clinics are managed by Hospital and Health Services.