Types of COVID-19 tests
There are 2 types of test that can detect if you have the COVID-19 virus:
polymerase chain reaction (PCR, or RT-PCR)
rapid antigen self-tests (RATs).
Find out more from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) about how COVID-19 testing works.
Early diagnosis means you can avoid spreading the virus to someone else.
You can find translated information about when you should get tested for COVID-19 in over 60 languages.
If you test positive
Australia’s high vaccination rates mean most people are well protected from the risk of severe illness and hospitalisation from COVID-19.
If you do test positive to COVID-19, you may experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
If you test positive and have symptoms, it is recommended you stay at home until your symptoms resolve.
You must not visit high-risk settings like aged and disability care facilities and hospitals, unless seeking immediate medical care, until at least 7 days after testing positive and you have no symptoms of COVID-19.
In some states or territories, people testing positive for COVID-19 may have to follow additional requirements. Visit your local state or territory health department website for advice.
If you took a PCR test your local health department will contact you.
If you took a rapid antigen test you must let health authorities know.
Follow your local health advice to register as a COVID-19 positive case:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- North Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Follow our guidance on what to do if you test positive for COVID-19.
If you test negative
If your rapid antigen or PCR test returns a negative result you do not need to isolate.