Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Update #19

Maintaining high levels of testing is an essential part of South Australia’s ongoing response to COVID‑19, especially as restrictions are eased. 

Reminder: any patient with respiratory symptoms, even if very mild, should be tested for COVID-19.

Patients with the following clinical criteria should be tested:

  • Acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose) OR
  • Fever OR history of fever or chills in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation* 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 or interstate 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. Patients need to get a specimen collection request form from their GP to access this service.
  • Home (domiciliary) testing. Patients need to get a specimen collection request form from their GP to access this service. Pre-approval from CDCB is not required.
  • COVID-19 testing clinics. Ensure the GP’s name is on the request form. Regional clinics may require patients to make an appointment or obtain a GP referral before attending these clinics.
  • Respiratory clinics - by appointment only.

Health workers are reminded to:

  • Advise patients who are tested to remain in isolation until 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. Refer patients to the SA Health website for information about self-isolation: https://bit.ly/2WPtcON
  • Ensure to note on the pathology request form the symptom profile and if the patient is in a risk group (e.g. aged care worker).
  • Not work whilst symptomatic with fever or an acute respiratory infection.
  • Refer to SA Health’s COVID-19 Information for Health Professionals page for further information on PPE, infection control and specimen collection (including testing centres): www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019
  • 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.
  • Notify suspected and confirmed cases online: https://extapps2.sahealth.sa.gov.au/CDCB-Notify
  • See the Australian Government Department for Health for further information https://bit.ly/2QAK1JU and regularly visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019 for SA updates.

Dr Louise Flood – Director, Communicable Disease Control Branch