Rapid Antigen Testing & How to do it


If you tested positive using a rapid antigen test, you are a COVID-19 case and you should report your result to the Department of Health online, see Report your rapid antigen test result, or call 1800 675 398.

When you report your result, you will be asked questions about your health and wellbeing, and about any medical conditions that may mean you need extra support. This information helps the Department of Health to provide you with tailored support and care via the COVID Positive Pathways Program.

You don’t need to report your result if you tested positive from a PCR test.

Check with your GP as soon as possible if you are eligible for early treatment medicine to help prevent you from getting so sick that you end up in hospital. Your GP, or a GP Respiratory Clinic, can assess you and prescribe them for you or refer you to a hospital if that is more appropriate.



Step-by-step advice

  • Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are the preferred means of testing for COVID-19 for most Victorians.

    They are quick and accurate, particularly if you have symptoms or if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

    When to take a rapid antigen test

    You should take a rapid antigen test:

    • if you have symptoms of COVID-19 infection, no matter how mild
    • if you are a household or close contact of someone who has COVID-19
    • if you are a social contact of someone who has COVID-19. This includes workplaces and educational facilities
    • before attending a crowded event, social gathering or visiting people at risk of serious illness, for example, when a test is required to attend a hospital or other health care setting. This is because COVID-19 can spread before you have symptoms. You can help protect others by checking you are negative before leaving home
    • as part of a screening program, such as one organised by your employer.

    If you have COVID-19 symptoms and you return a negative rapid antigen test you should stay home until your symptoms go away and repeat rapid antigen testing over the next several days.

    Rapid antigen tests are better able to detect COVID-19 when repeated over successive days but do not detect other respiratory viruses, such as influenza.

    If you test positive for COVID-19, you should isolate for at least 5 days or as long as you have symptoms. Find out more on Checklist for COVID cases.

    You should report your positive rapid antigen test result online or by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

    Call a doctor if you are unwell or go to hospital if it is an emergency.

    If you have symptoms but cannot access a rapid antigen test, you should stay home until you can do so.

    Council program

    You should have RATs at home in case you need to test for COVID. Many local councils are offering free RATs to eligible people. You are eligible if you:

    • are aged 70 years and older
    • have a disability, are immunocompromised, or are a carer
    • hold a Seniors, Pensioner Concession, Commonwealth Senior Health Care, Health Care, Low Income Health Care, or Department of Veterans Affairs Gold, White or Orange card

    Eligible people can get 5 free tests. People with disability and their carers can get 20 free tests.

    You may be able to get tests from council sites like libraries and customer service centres. Speak to your local council to find out if they have tests and where you can get them.

    You should not go to a council site if you have COVID symptoms. Some test sites offer free RATs to people who have symptoms. Find the list of sites with RATs on the Get a COVID-19 test page.

  • SOURCE AND FURTHER UPDATES: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/

Accessed 1st January 2023

Step by Step – Nasal Rapid Antigen Test


Where to get a Rapid Antigen Test

  • You can collect 5 rapid antigen tests per person listed on your Medicare card from a state testing site. Find a site to collect free rapid antigen tests.

    You can also buy rapid antigen test kits from supermarkets, pharmacies, other retail outlets or online.

    For NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) participants and Disability Support pensioners, up to 20 rapid antigen tests will also be available at selected testing sites and through Disability Liaison Officers.

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