Covid-19 Testing

Covid-19 Testing

With COVID-19 cases still present in the communities of New Zealand, testing remains a powerful tool for locating and managing this disease. COVID-19 testing, tracing and quickly isolating cases and their contacts are very important for protecting whānau and communities.


When should you get tested for COVID-19?

When you have cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, headache, fatigue, loss of smell or taste. You should get tested even if you have been infected with Coronavirus previously or if you are vaccinated. 

If you are a close contact with somebody who tested positive, you do not need to get tested unless you exhibit specific disease symptoms.


How does COVID-19 testing work?

New Zealand uses two types of COVID-19 tests: Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), which identifies genetic material from the virus in the sample and Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), which detects protein from the virus.

PCR testing

PCR testing is the most accurate testing for detecting COVID-19 and can be conducted only by accredited laboratories. PCR testing is done from samples taken from the nose, nose and throat or saliva. Nose or nose and throat samples can be taken by General Practitioners and at Community Testing Centres using nasal and throat swabs.

Rapid antigen tests (RAT)

Rapid antigen tests work by detecting specific proteins from the virus, such as the spike protein or nucleocapsid. Rapid antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests, especially in people who don’t present specific symptoms or in those who have a low viral load of the virus in their system. You can perform these tests at home instead of the doctor’s office or community centre. Their results are available in about 20 minutes. You need to lodge the results of your RAT test if positive through your COVID App or call 0800 847 8719.


What does the result of COVID-19 testing tell you?

  • A positive test result tells that you currently have or have had COVID-19 recently, no matter if you display or not specific symptoms.
  • A negative test result tells you that you are unlikely to be infectious when you get tested.

If you get a positive test result, your GP will tell you what you need to do next to protect your health and the health of your family and community.

COVID-19 testing is important because it tells you if you are infected with the virus and helps healthcare authorities quantify the cases of COVID-19 and adapt the public health policies to the disease’s spread. Testing will remain a valuable tool even when the infections shift from community spread to isolated outbreaks. 


The GP practitioners from Mosgiel Health Centre provide COVID-19 testing to enrolled patients by calling 03 489 5135.