COVID-19 information for patients
Click here for the latest on coronavirus from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
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 below or one of the Melbourne Pathology shopping centre testing sites.
COVID-19 dedicated collection sites
We have three dedicated COVID-19 collection sites for the convenience of patients. All patients can present with or without a pathology referral from their doctor for COVID-19 testing but MUST book an appointment (see booking instructions below).
Please note: 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.
|74 Alfred St, North Melbourne||M-F 8:30am – 4:30pm|
|159 Jasper Rd, Bentleigh||M-F 8:30am – 4:30pm|
28 Cranbourne Rd, Frankston
|M-F 8:30am - 4:30pm|
(closed for lunch 1 - 1:30pm)
Please note: These three COVID collection sites are CLOSED on weekends and public holidays.
To book, patients can call 9287 7700 and select option 4, or email email@example.com.
Upon arrival, patients must remain in their car and call the mobile number on the signage. The collector will come out to see you.
Getting tested at a drive-thru or dedicated COVID site: what should I do?
Please confirm your mobile number is correct when it is recorded to ensure you receive your results.
After having your COVID test, return home and self-isolate until given further medical advice.
If symptomatic or a COVID contact, keep away from household members, maintain good hygiene and wear a mask.
Results may take up to 48 hours from the time it is received in the laboratory. Please do not ring the laboratory.
If your COVID-19 test is negative your result will be sent by SMS. Consult your doctor about release from isolation.
If your COVID-19 test is positive your result will be sent by SMS if a mobile number has been provided. You will also be contacted by the Department of Health. Stay in isolation, keep away from household members and follow DHHS advice.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) results SMS
All COVID-19 results are sent to patients via SMS where a mobile number has been provided. This includes if the COVID-19 result is positive or 'not detected' (negative).
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.
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.
Patients with a referral for both COVID-19 testing and other pathology tests
If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever or have recently returned from overseas travel, please do not attend 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, you can attend a Melbourne Pathology dedicated COVID-19 collection site. If you have a referral for other pathology tests in addition to the COVID-19 testing, these will need to be performed after you have tested negative for COVID-19 or once given clearance from DHHS if your test is positive.
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.
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.
COVID-19 serology testing
SARS-CoV-2 serology testing is available at Melbourne Pathology.
Currently, the main role of COVID-19 serology is in the retrospective diagnosis of disease. Testing is not advised until at least 14 days after a suspected illness. This test does NOT diagnose acute infection in the patient. COVID-19 serology assesses if the person has an immune response to the virus, which takes at least two weeks to develop. It may be useful when symptomatic individuals with suspected COVID-19 have not been tested by PCR for SARS-CoV-2 at the time of their illness, or when their result was negative or inconclusive. It can also identify those whose previous infection was asymptomatic.
While most infected individuals will have detectable antibody by the third week after symptom onset, the duration of the antibody response remains uncertain and whether it results in protective immunity, has not been established. It is important that all patients who have had infection with SARS-CoV-2, whether diagnosed by PCR or serology, should still have a COVID-19 vaccine once eligible.
Our initial test is with the Roche Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Total antibody test, which detects both IgG and IgM. If testing for COVID-19 by IgM is required for immigration purposes, along with PCR, this will be covered by this assay. All samples which are reactive by this assay are reflexed to a second assay, the Diasorin Liaison IgG Anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG test. These tests have been accredited by NATA for use in our laboratory.
For those requiring a COVID RT-PCR + IgM serology test for travel purposes, these patients must attend one of our asymptomatic COVID testing branches. Click here to view the list of available branches to attend. Please check the hours of COVID testing prior to presenting. Patients cannot attend one of these branches for a COVID test if they have COVID symptoms.
COVID serology for immunity testing
COVID-19 serology is a blood test that may detect previous COVID-19 infection.
There is no available data on the utility of current serology testing to determine the immunity gained from COVID-19 vaccination, so it is not generally recommended for this purpose.
Testing for COVID-19
DHHS guidelines as of 14/4/20 recommend coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for anyone with fever or respiratory symptoms.
Increased measures for health and safety in our collection centres
The health and safety of our staff and patients is of paramount importance. The link below details our increased health and safety measures in collection centres during this period.
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. Saliva testing is not recommended for individual patients unless discussed prior to collection with our microbiologists.
Nasopharyngeal swabs collected by trained healthcare workers remains the gold standard test.