- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should phone Healthline or your GP to see if you should be tested.
- If you are advised to have a test, you will go to your local General Practice (GP) or community-based assessment centre (CBAC) and the staff there will talk to you about your symptoms and if appropriate take a test. Read more about getting tested.
- The testing staff will swab you, and they’ll tell you whether you need to self-isolate while you wait for your test result or not. You should follow their advice about what to do next, and you should always stay home if you are feeling unwell.
- Testing staff will send your swab to a lab.
- The lab teams receive your swab, process it, and confirm the test result. Positive test results, or tests for people deemed higher risk, are prioritised and confirmed with patients typically within 24 to 48 hours. Negative test results can take slightly longer.
- There are two ways you will get your test result back:
- Negative COVID-19 result: The GP or CBAC staffer who took your original test will call or send you a text message confirming a negative result. For most people, a negative result means you should stay home until you feel completely well again for at least 24 hours, so you don’t pass on the illness you have to others. Talk with your General Practitioner or primary care provider about when you are able to return to work.
- Positive COVID-19 result: The GP or CBAC staffer who took your original test will call to discuss your result and next steps, and you can also expect to hear from someone at your local public health unit (e.g. DHB). Sometimes the public health team will call you before you have heard from your GP or the CBAC clinic. Please answer your phone if you can. If you miss the original phone call/s, you may receive a text message asking you to contact the local public health team to discuss your results.
How long will it take to get my test result back?
People should allow up to four days from when they are swabbed to when they get their result. During particularly busy times, this process could take up to five days. If you have not received your result after five days, please contact your GP or the place your test was done.