Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests

Public metropolitan COVID Clinic opening hours are 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, with last testing conducted at 8:00 pm. People are encouraged to arrive by 7:00 pm before the clinics close at 8:00 pm.

What does a COVID-19 PCR test involve

A swab will be inserted into the back of your throat and then through your nose by a qualified practitioner. This procedure lasts less than a minute. It may cause some mild discomfort but is not painful.

Your swab sample will be taken to a laboratory to be tested for COVID-19.

Can I get a PCR test if I do not have symptoms?

Asymptomatic testing is permitted under certain circumstances, such as people who are required to be tested under a Direction or who have been advised by public health to get tested.

COVID-19 tests for the purposes of international visa requirements, or work clearances are not available at public COVID clinics. For these tests a GP referral or pathology form is required for testing at a private pathology clinic

Where can I get a PCR test?

Testing is available at COVID clinics, regional public hospitals, health services and remote health clinics (where COVID clinics are not available); and, private pathology centres.

Testing is free at public and private COVID-19 testing facilities (metropolitan and regional). No Medicare card is required.

COVID-19 tests for the purpose of international visa requirements, or work clearances are not available at public COVID clinics at any time. They can be arranged through a private pathology collector (the cost for these tests is to be paid for by the individual or employer).

Guide to getting a COVID-19 test at a State-run clinic

State-run and private COVID-19 testing clinics offer PCR testing. When demand for PCR tests exceeds capacity at a State-run clinic, you may be provided with a rapid antigen test to do at home.

COVIDTestWA is a safe and secure pre-registration system that enables you to provide your patient details before you get tested at a public COVID clinic in Perth.

You can pre-register your details by scanning the QR code displayed at testing clinics or via the PathWest website (external link).

Completing COVIDTestWA online won’t let you skip the queue but the more people who complete it, the faster everyone’s sample will be collected and processed, which it reduces direct individual patient contact times at the COVID clinics.

You can register yourself and your dependents.

COVIDTestWA is available Armadale Health Service, Joondalup Hospital, Midland Hospital, PathWest Murdoch Drive-through, Rockingham Hospital Drive-through, Royal Perth Hospital and Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital.

More information on getting a COVID-19 test at a State-run clinic (PDF 317KB).

COVID-19 PCR testing in regional and remote WA

People seeking testing in regional areas, where there isn’t a COVID clinic in the list below, should go to a public hospital, health service or remote health clinic. Make sure you phone ahead to advise of your symptoms. Find out where to get tested in regional and remote areas of WA (PDF 503KB).

Is there a public health program that conducts PCR tests at the home of a person who needs to be tested for COVID-19 and is not able to leave home without calling an ambulance, or is rapid antigen testing (RAT) the only option?

As part of your COVID care plan, you are encouraged to identify at least one support person who can help keep you safe. This person could assist with tasks such as taking you to a COVID testing clinic or accessing a RAT, on your behalf.

Western Australians are being urged to keep using PCR testing clinics as the priority, while clinics can manage the number of PCR tests required.

Your GP may be able to arrange home testing.

In line with health advice for high and very high caseload environments in WA, RATs can also be used as a diagnostic tool for COVID-19. A RAT is a quick home test to check if you have COVID-19 and provides a result within 15 to 30 minutes.

RAT kits are available for purchase from supermarkets, pharmacies and other selected suppliers. Each RAT kit has a QR code that links to a video that demonstrates how to take the test.

If you test positive using a RAT, follow the isolation protocols for a confirmed case.

You must register positive RAT results online with WA Health.

If you do not have access to online registration, you must still report the positive test result by calling 13COVID (13 26843).

GP respiratory clinics

The Australian Government has established GP respiratory clinics (external site) around the country to clinically assess test and diagnose people with mild to moderate respiratory conditions including COVID-19 symptoms (including but not limited to a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat, and/or tiredness).

They also offer free treatment for people diagnosed with COVID-19, and some clinics offer COVID-19 vaccinations. The clinics are GP led and offer services for adults and children.

There is no cost to the patient and no referral is required, however bookings are essential.

People with any COVID-19 symptoms are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to attend the clinic. 

Quarantine directions

If you are under a quarantine direction, you must wear a face mask when you present for a COVID-19 test (including transit to and from the clinic).

If you are self-quarantining, you are allowed to walk to the COVID clinic for testing, provided the clinic is within 2km of the place where you are quarantining. While walking, you must keep 1.5m from others as much as possible.

COVID-19 tests for international visa requirements

COVID-19 PCR tests for the purpose of international visa requirements are not available at public COVID clinics at any time. They can be arranged through a private pathology collector, with the cost of the test to be paid by the individual.

Please note if you have been to a private pathology collector and have not received your results after 72 hours contact the following for your results:

  • Western Diagnostics Pathology: (08) 9317 0999
  • CliniPath: (08) 9371 4200
  • Australian Clinical Labs: 1300 367 674

COVID-19 tests for the purposes of international visa requirements are also available for a fee at selected PathWest Collection Centres (external site).

Last reviewed: 27-06-2022
Coronavirus information helplines: 13 COVID (13 268 43). Interstate callers: 1800 595 206. International callers: +61 8 9118 3100.