How to use this guide
The NSW Government wrote this guide.
When you see the word ‘we’, it means the
We wrote this guide in an easy to read way.
We use pictures to explain some ideas.
We have written some words in bold.
This means the letters are thicker and darker.
We explain what these words mean.
You can ask for help to read this guide.
A friend, family member or support person
may be able to help you.
What is a PCR test?
A PCR (nose and throat swab) test is a way to check if you have COVID-19.
You can get a PCR test at a:
- testing clinic.
A health care worker does the test for you.
A PCR test is different to a rapid
A rapid antigen test is a fast way to check
if you have COVID-19.
You can do a rapid antigen test at home.
We have Easy Read information about rapid
antigen tests on our website.
When should you get a PCR test?
Some people are at high risk of getting very
sick if they have COVID-19.
You are at high risk of catching COVID-19 if
- aged 60 or over
- an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person aged 35 or over.
You are also at high risk if you:
- have serious health problems
- have a disability
- live in an aged care home – a place where older people live
- live in a place where people with disability get care for their disability
- haven’t had a COVID-19 vaccine.
A vaccine is a medicine that:
- helps people fight a virus if they come into contact with it
- can stop people from getting very sick from the virus
- can stop you from passing the virus to someone else.
You should get a PCR test if you:
- are at high risk of catching COVID-19
A symptom is a sign that you might be sick.
- see symptoms
- feel symptoms.
You can do a rapid antigen test if you:
- are not at high risk of catching COVID-19
But you can get a PCR test if:
- you don’t have rapid antigen tests
- rapid antigen tests said you don’t have COVID-19 but you still have symptoms.
What happens when you get a PCR test?
A health care worker will do the PCR test
The health care worker will take a swab from
A swab is a long stick with cotton on the end.
The test might be a bit uncomfortable.
It might make:
- you cough or sneeze
- your eyes water.
It will be over quickly.
The health care worker will tell you:
- what you must do next
- when you will get your results.
You will get your test results in a text
message to your phone.
You can ask the health care worker to send
your results to someone you trust, like a:
- family member
You must self-isolate after your COVID-19 test
When you self-isolate, you must not:
- leave your house
- see other people
- have anyone visit your home.
But your carers and support workers can
still visit you in your home.
Where can you get a PCR test?
You can get a PCR test at a:
COVID-19 testing clinic.
You can also get a PCR test in your car at
a drive through testing clinic.
You can find a COVID-19 clinic near you on
the NSW Government website.
On the NSW Government website, you must:
- enter your postcode
choose the type of COVID-19 clinic you
want to go to.
Support for you
You can call the National Coronavirus
Helpline to find a testing clinic that is:
- close to where you live
- easy for you to use.