COVID-19 information for clinicians
Testing for COVID-19
DHHS guidelines as of 14/4/2020 recommend coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for anyone with fever or respiratory symptoms.
Melbourne Pathology is testing for COVID-19 at our Collingwood laboratory.
COVID-19 swab collections
For COVID-19 collections, please use an orange-topped or blue-topped liquid Transwab, or a green or yellow-topped liquid swab (NOT a Cobas yellow-topped swab). Take a throat swab first and then use THE SAME SWAB to take a nasopharyngeal swab.
COVID-19 dedicated collection sites
We have set up dedicated COVID-19 collection sites for the convenience of your patients. Patients must present with a pathology referral from their clinician for COVID-19 testing.
|70 Alfred St, North Melbourne||M-F 8:30am – 4:30pm|
|159 Jasper Rd, Bentleigh||M-F 8:30am – 4:30pm|
|28 Station St, Ferntree Gully||M-F 8:30am – 4:30pm|
|28 Cranbourne Rd, Frankston||M-F 8:30am – 4:30pm|
To book, patients can call 9287 7700 and select option 4, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upon arrival, patients must remain in their car and call the mobile number on the signage. The collector will come out to them.
Please note: we cannot accept patients with a referral for suspected COVID-19 at our standard collection centres. Patients will need to visit one of our dedicated COVID-19 collection sites.
All high-risk patients (clinically significantly unwell including high fever, symptoms or signs of pneumonia) must be referred to a hospital associated COVID testing site and not the Melbourne Pathology sites.
Patients with a referral for both COVID-19 testing and other pathology tests
If your patient is experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever or has recently returned from overseas travel, please do not refer them to our standard collection centres. These sites are not equipped for COVID-19 collections or managing suspected COVID-19 patients and will not take the sample.
For COVID-19 swab collection, refer your patient to a Melbourne Pathology dedicated COVID-19 collection site. If the patient has a referral for other pathology tests in addition to the COVID-19 testing, these will need to be performed after the patient has tested negative to COVID-19 or once given clearance from DHHS if the test is positive.
Patients with COVID-like symptoms needing a blood test
Melbourne Pathology recognises that not all patients with respiratory symptoms or fever have COVID-19 and understand routine medical care of these patients is necessary and appropriate. Not all collection centres are suitable for patients with symptoms to attend.
Patients with COVID-like symptoms needing a blood test
Melbourne Pathology recognises that not all patients with respiratory symptoms or fever have COVID-19 and understand routine medical care of these patients is necessary and appropriate. Not all collection centres are suitable for patients with symptoms to attend. Click here for more information and for a list of collection centres to attend.
Patients with symptoms needing a COVID test, should attend one of our dedicated COVID collection sites.
Note for clinicians: All referrals for symptomatic patients needing a blood test or pathology collection other than a COVID test, should clearly state what is being investigated in the clinical notes.
Pre-operative COVID screening
A reminder to all clinicians that a pathology referral is required for all pre-operative patients attending for COVID testing unless they are attending a carpark drive-thru (pop up) testing site. If you are unsure where your patient will present for their COVID test, please provide them with a referral. All patients should also be given a letter confirming they are having surgery and require a COVID test. Click here for more information for pre-operative COVID testing.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) results
SMS results - COVID-19 'not detected' only
All results where COVID-19 is not detected will be sent to patients via SMS where a mobile number has been provided.
Please be aware that SMS is not considered completely secure and is subject to abuse, typographical error, misdirection or non-delivery.
We will make every effort to SMS the result, but can take no responsibility should you fail to receive the SMS or your privacy is breached.
Please note, only COVID-19 ‘not detected’ results will be sent as an SMS.
All positive COVID results are communicated by phone call from the referring doctor or our Medical Microbiologist.
Results may take up to 48 hours from the time the sample is received in our laboratory.
If you have not received your result after this time, please call our Results Department on 9287 7777.
Respiratory PCR collections
As the symptoms will be similar between COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses and the outcome of the testing cannot be assumed at presentation, we have also moved to decline all respiratory PCR swab collections at our standard collection centres.
Melbourne Pathology has an electronic A4 referral available for clinicians performing Telehealth consults.
COVID-19 saliva testing
In a pandemic situation, where we want the best chance of finding a positive patient, we should use the most sensitive method wherever possible. A combined throat and nasal swab is the recommended sample. However, where this is not possible, in limited circumstances, saliva can be used for COVID testing however, it is a less sensitive, has a risk of a false negative results and is currently not performed at Melbourne Pathology.
Nasopharyngeal swabs collected by trained healthcare workers remains the gold standard test.