COVID-19 - FAQ: Fever Clinic Testing
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS) currently operates three fixed fever clinics, in Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and Maryborough, to carry out COVID-19 testing for the community.
Testing remains one of our best methods to find and isolate confirmed cases of COVID-19, and prevent further spread. As a community member or visitor, you can do your part to help us prevent spread by:
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about testing at our fever clinics.
What are the COVID-19 symptoms?
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting and/or nausea, and loss of smell or taste.
I don’t have all the symptoms of COVID-19. Should I still have a test?
Yes. You should get tested if you have ANY of the symptoms, no matter how mild, because everyone will experience the symptoms and severity of COVID-19 differently.
Do I need a referral or an appointment?
No. You can just turn up. All WBHHS fever clinics in Wide Bay operate on a drive-through basis, which means you can be tested from the safety and comfort of your car, without having to get out of it. Registration will occur when you arrive. You cannot pre-register.
Is the test conducted at the fever clinic a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test?
Yes. That said, if you are requiring a pass for overseas travel purposes and you do not have cold or flu like symptoms, it will be a much easier to obtain your required documentation if you attend a private pathology centre or GP. Tests must be done within 72 hours of your departure flight time to be valid, and you should not have to isolate waiting results if you have no symptoms.
Does it cost anything?
No, COVID-19 testing is free of charge. This also applies to overseas nationals, even if you come from a country that doesn’t have a reciprocal health agreement with Australia.
How do I obtain a copy of my PCR COVID-19 results for international travel purposes?
WBHHS and Pathology Queensland do not routinely provide a hard copy of results to patients. If this is required for travel, patients will need to present to a private pathology service for testing to obtain a testing certificate.
If you have already had a test through Queensland Health, please call COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 472 847 between 8am and 4.30pm on Monday to Friday or 9am and 12pm on Saturday and Sunday. You may need to lodge an application through our Information Access Units which will take time.
Where can I access at rapid antigen test (RAT)?
Currently, our fever clinics have access to a limited supply of RAT kits. Our team is only using RAT for the day 6 test of household contacts and for essential workers who have symptoms. This means the majority of people will still be provided with PCR tests at our clinics rather than a RAT.
The Federal Government is providing free RAT kits to eligible groups through pharmacies. These are not provided by our clinics.
You can also buy RAT kits in retail shops and chemists. RAT kits are currently in low supply due to the sudden high demand but are expected to become more readily available in the next few wee
For more information about RATs, visit https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/stay-informed/rapid-antigen-test.
Where are the public WBHHS fever testing clinics?
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service operates three fixed fever clinics – in Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Maryborough.
You can find details of their operating hours and exact locations – as well as details of private clinics in the area – by going to www.health.qld.gov.au/widebay/fever-clinics. This site also includes map links to help you navigate straight to our clinics.
Occasionally we will extend our fever clinic hours, usually to rapidly respond to a particular incident or confirmed case, and allow many community members to be tested quickly. If we do this, we will communicate through our Facebook page and other channels to alert the public as promptly as possible.
What happens if I start to experience symptoms outside of fever clinic operating hours?
If you start to become unwell and you’re not sure if you can wait until the clinics open in the morning, you can ring 134 COVID (134 268) for advice. In an emergency, call 000.
What can I expect during the test?
Testing for COVID-19 involves collecting nasal (inside your nose) and throat swabs. The nasal swab can be a little uncomfortable, but it’s over very quickly. It’s a bit like having a needle – momentary discomfort, but long-lasting impact.
The swab samples are then transferred to Pathology Queensland’s public laboratory at Hervey Bay Hospital, which is now well equipped to handle large testing volumes.
Is it safe to be at the fever clinic?
Yes. Our clinical staff are highly trained and experienced in testing and infection control procedures. They will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves and aprons, and they’ll also give you instructions to help you follow our procedures.
Because all our fever clinics are set up as drive-through operations, it means anyone presenting for testing can remain safely in their car and maintain their distance from other people being tested.
Do I stay in my car?
Yes. Our fever clinic teams will give you directions on where to park and when to put your window down to talk to clinicians or have your test.
I don’t have a car. Is it still okay for me to come to the fever clinic and be tested?
Yes. While we prefer people attending in vehicles, we do also accept people who walk to our fever clinics. When you arrive, please go straight to see one of our team members and they’ll tell you what you need to do.
How long will it take?
This can depend on the volumes of people presenting for testing at any given time, but typically you’ll be in and out within half an hour. However, in light of recent community transmission, we are currently experiencing high demand, so your wait could be be longer.
What happens after my test?
After your test, you’ll need to self-isolate until you get a negative result and your symptoms resolve. This protects against further spread, regardless of whether you have COVID-19 or another viral illness.
How soon will I get my results back?
Thanks to the investment in a new pathology analyser based at Hervey Bay Hospital, most Wide Bay patients will receive their results within 24 hours. That said, as a result of recent community transmission, we’re currently experiencing a higher demand for testing, so receiving your result may take longer.
You’ll be notified of your result by SMS, so it’s important you give us a current contact phone number, preferably a mobile number.
How can I get a clearance certificate so my workplace knows I don’t have COVID-19?
Once you’ve been tested, you’ll receive a discharge document, which will include contact details so you can be provided with a copy of your result.
I’ve received a positive test result. What do I do now?
If you test positive to COVID-19, follow the checklist on this webpage. These important steps protect yourself and others.
If you are well or only have mild symptoms, you will be cared for at home. Only call Triple Zero (000) or go to an emergency department if you have severe symptoms. Read more about symptoms and medical care for COVID-19 in Queensland.
Where can I find out more information?
The latest information about COVID-19 and how Queensland is responding to it can be found at www.health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus.
We also provide regular Wide Bay updates through our Facebook page.
Can WBHHS help me with border regulation questions?
No. For more information about travelling to Queensland and international border restrictions, you’ll need to visit https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/public-health-directions/travelling-to-queensland/entering-queensland-from-overseas.