Testing for COVID-19

Testing requirements for people entering from NSW or Victoria

Non-essential travellers from NSW are required to have a COVID-19 test on day 1 and day 12 upon entry into SA, and must remain in self-quarantine for 14 days.

Essential travellers in categories defined as commercial transport and freight, remote and isolated workers or cross border community members and approved to enter by SA must obtain a test as soon as practicable within 7 days of entering SA, but can still travel across the border into SA once within this period. They must produce evidence of having a COVID-19 test, or a COVID-19 test result, that is not more than 7 days old, upon request from an Authorised Officer (e.g. SA Police Officer). Self-quarantine restrictions may still apply.

All other Essential Travellers (other than those mentioned above or passing through) are required to have mandatory COVID-19 testing on day 1 and 12 of entry into SA.

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 must self-isolate while waiting for test results.

Who can get tested

People who have any of the symptoms below, even if symptoms are very mild, should get tested for COVID-19:

  • fever OR chills (with no alternative illness that explains these symptoms)
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of taste and smell.

Call 000 (Triple Zero) in an emergency, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain.

Where to get tested

There are many options to get tested for COVID-19 in South Australia. Some require a booking and others are walk-in. Some require a referral and some do not. If you are unsure what to do, call SA COVID Information Line on 1800 253 787.

See below a range of options to get tested:

General Practitioner (GP)

Contact your GP about getting tested for COVID-19. If you qualify for a test your GP may test you in their clinic, they may come outside to take a swab test while you remain in your car, or they may provide you with a referral to attend a drive-through testing clinic.

Drive-through testing

You may need a referral from your GP to attend a drive-through testing clinic. If you have a referral, you can book with SA Pathology, Clinpath or Australian Clinical Labs directly.

COVID-19 clinics

People with COVID-19 symptoms can visit a dedicated COVID-19 clinic or SA Health drive-through testing clinic to be assessed and tested. You do not need a referral or an appointment.

Respiratory Clinics

Respiratory Clinics are available for anyone with respiratory conditions. Covered by Medicare. All ages. Bookings essential. They do not test people without symptoms (e.g. people arrived from interstate with no symptoms who are required to get tested). Clinics are Commonwealth funded and supported by Adelaide PHN and Country SA PHN.

Home-based testing

SA Pathology offers a dedicated metropolitan service to take COVID-19 tests within a persons’ home. Some regional home-based testing services are also available.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services testing

If you would like to know more about COVID-19, or feel that you have some symptoms, please call your local SA Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (PDF 696KB).

What to do after your test

After your test, go straight home and self-isolate while you wait for your test result (which you should usually get within 2 days) and:

  • stay at home and do not attend work, school or childcare
  • wash your hands often with soap and water
  • cough and sneeze into a clean tissue or your elbow
  • avoid close contact with others, including members of your household.

If you have a negative test result

If you receive a negative test result, you should still stay at home and not attend work, school or childcare until you are feeling well again.

People in self-isolation or self-quarantine will need to remain at their place of quarantine for the prescribed period even if they return a negative test result.

If you have a positive test result

It is important that you follow medical advice.

If your result is positive you will be contacted directly by SA Health. SA Pathology will never send a positive result via text message.

If you have received a positive result for COVID-19, visit the Information about a positive result for COVID-19 page for information about what to do.

Cost of COVID-19 tests

There is no cost to Medicare eligible patients for COVID-19 testing if you are tested at SA Health or PHN facilities.

Private providers may charge a gap for COVID-19 testing.

Overseas residents who fall ill in Australia (and are not eligible for Medicare) often have health or travel insurance. For those who do not have adequate insurance coverage, SA Health hospitals and COVID-19 testing centres will waive the costs of diagnosis (tests) and treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further information and support