Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Update #18

The broad COVID-19 testing criteria, outlined below, will continue beyond SA Health’s two week testing blitz. High levels of testing are an important component of South Australia’s ongoing response to COVID-19. Even patients with mild symptoms should be tested for COVID-19.

Patients who meet the following clinical criteria should be tested:

  • Fever OR history of fever or chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation* OR
  • Acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose) OR
  • Acute unexplained loss of smell or altered sense of taste OR
  • Persons with new onset of other clinical symptoms compatible with COVID-19 (headache, myalgia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea) AND who are close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19; or who have returned from overseas in the past 14 days.

 * Clinical discretion applies including consideration of the potential for co-infection (e.g. concurrent infection with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza)

Options for patients to access testing:

  • Medical practitioners with access to appropriate PPE can collect swabs.
  • Drive-through testing. Note: patients need to get a ‘specimen collection request form’ from their GP to access this service.
  • Home (domiciliary) testing. Note: patients need to get a ‘specimen collection request form’ from their GP to access this service. Pre-approval from the CDCB is no longer required.
  • COVID-19 testing clinics. Ensure the GP’s name is on the request form. Note: regional clinics may require patients to make an appointment or obtain a GP referral before attending these clinics.
  • Respiratory clinics. Note: these clinics are by appointment only.

 Health workers are reminded to:

  • Advise patients who are tested to remain in isolation until the test results are available. Persons who meet the criteria for quarantine (e.g. recent interstate or overseas travel, or contact of a known case) are required to remain in isolation until the period specified for that person is completed, irrespective of the test results.
  • Not work whilst symptomatic with fever or an acute respiratory infection.
  • Seek testing if symptoms compatible with COVID-19 develop.
  • Refer to SA Health’s COVID-19 Information for Health Professionals page for further information on PPE, infection control and specimen collection (including information on testing centres.
  • Send specimens to SA Pathology. Request respiratory viruses including COVID-19.
  • Do not send patients with suspected COVID-19 to a general pathology collection centre.
  • Do not test patients for ‘medical clearance’ certificates for schools or workplaces.
  • See the Australian Government Department for Health for further information https://bit.ly/2QAK1JU
  • Notify suspected and confirmed cases online: https://extapps2.sahealth.sa.gov.au/CDCB-Notify/  
  • Regularly visit the SA Health website: for SA updates: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019
  • Note that the Barossa Valley is no longer considered a higher risk region.

Dr Louise Flood – Director, Communicable Disease Control Branch