Symptoms and testing of COVID-19

Getting your results

Information on how to register for an SMS result is provided when you get tested.

Results typically take 24 to 72 hours. Most people in NSW receive their test result within 24 hours.

If you’ve been tested at a public hospital clinic or emergency department, you can also receive your result securely via

If you haven’t received your results, contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice.

If the test is negative

A negative test result means you do not have COVID-19.

  • If the lab finds that you do not have COVID-19, and you were tested at a COVID-19 clinic or public hospital ED and registered for text alerts, you will receive an SMS on your phone.
  • If you have not registered for SMS, you will receive a phone call from your local Public Health Unit.

If the test is negative and you are a person who

  • is a close contact of another person with COVID-19
  • is in-home quarantine due to overseas travel
  • has been advised by the Public Health Unit to remain in isolation

You must continue to follow the relevant guidelines for self-isolation and remain in isolation for 14 full days.

If the test is positive

A positive test result means you have COVID-19.

If the test is positive your doctor or the public health unit will provide you with advice.

The local public health unit will also contact you to interview you and identify your close contacts. The guidelines for people who have confirmed COVID-19 infection apply.

People who should get tested

If you have a fever (37.5° or higher), cough, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, you should get tested for COVID-19, even if your symptoms are mild. 

It is important to maintain high testing rates to identify as many cases in the community as quickly as possible.

Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include fatigue (tiredness), acute blocked nose (congestion), muscle pain, joint pain, headache, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, unexplained chest pain and conjunctivitis. 

You should get tested even if you only have one of the symptoms.

As well as people who have COVID-19 symptoms, there are other people who should get tested, including close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases and travellers arriving from overseas.

Healthcare workers, disability and aged care workers, people at increased risk of severe disease and school community workers should be particularly careful in monitoring for symptoms and get tested if they appear.