COVID-19 testing – people with disability

Last Updated: 23 Sep 2022 3:30pm

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been told that you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, you must get tested for COVID-19. Download an easy to read fact sheet about COVID-19 testing.

There are two types of tests – rapid antigen tests (RATs) and PCR tests.

  • There are a few different types of RATs. Some require getting samples from deep in your nostrils with a special small cotton bud, then putting the bud tip into a chemical solution.

  • Some RATs require you to collect a sample of your saliva by rubbing a sponge that is on the end of a test stick around the inside of your mouth. Saliva tests can sometimes be easier to use but are not always as sensitive or accurate.

View Infographic-saliva-test-instructions.

You can also watch V-CHECK’s video demonstration.

Someone who supports you can take your swabs for you.

If the result is positive, you have COVID-19. You must let Public Health know. Use the online declaration form, or phone the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

  • PCR tests are usually done by a nurse or doctor. They take a swab of both your nostrils and your throat. The sample is sent to a lab to be tested. You will receive the result by an SMS text message, usually within two days. If the result is positive, you have COVID-19.

Find out more about the types of COVID-19 tests, or phone the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Accessing tests

There are a few options to access tests.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, are identified as a close contact of a case, or if Public Health asks you to get tested, you can:

  • get a free nasal RAT from the Department of Health. To do this, request a RAT online:
    • You can collect the RAT yourself or someone can collect if for you
    • You will receive a text message with a collection point to go to
    • If you cannot collect your RAT and no-one can collect it for you, the RAT can be delivered to your home.
  • get a free PCR test at a COVID-19 testing clinic. No booking required at state-operating testing clinics, just go to the site during opening hours.

Service Tasmania centres are also collection points for free RATS for concession card holders.

There are 27 Service Tasmania centres located around Tasmania. To find your nearest centre call 1300 13 55 13 or visit their website.

Eligible card holders:

  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Health Care Card
  • Low Income Health Care Card
  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold, White or Orange card

You will need to show:

  • your physical card; or
  • your digital card in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app


  • 10 RATs over a 3-month period
  • Maximum of 5 per month

For family, friends and visitors - Testing before visiting people with disability in Supported Independent Living Settings

Unless it is a requirement of the setting, visitors do not need to show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.

  • Do not visit a person with disability in any setting if you have COVID-19, any symptoms of COVID-19 or are identified as a close contact
  • Some disability service providers may have additional restrictions on who can visit people living in supported living settings. For example, they may:
    • screen visitors for symptoms on arrival
    • ask for evidence of vaccination
    • ask people to do a RAT before visiting.

More information

If you are a disability service provider and have any questions related specifically to COVID-19 support for people with disability, you can email