COVID-19 self-collect swab kit
Southern.IML Pathology offers a self-collect option for patients is available in consultation with a doctor. This collection method has been validated.
To obtain a self-collect swab kit, please call (02) 4224 7474 for the Illawarra Region and (02) 4422 9103 for the Shoalhaven & Eurobodalla.
Before picking up a self-collect swab kit from one of our designated COVID-19 pick up and drop off self-collect centres, patients must have a pathology request form from their doctor for COVID-19 testing.
Self-collected specimens provide a convenient way to test and help limit the spread of the virus to collection staff, doctors or other patients, in collection centres and medical practices, while also preserving personal protective equipment (PPE).
Early detection and isolation of COVID-19-positive patients, and their contacts, is known to be critical in minimising the spread of the infection.
Animated 'how-to' instructional video
As an additional resource, this ‘how-to’ video has been created to complement the instructions included, and to further assist patients in completing a self-collection.
The video demonstrates the easy-to-follow procedure in a step-by-step format, including:
- Appropriate preparation
- Throat and nasal swab collection
- Packaging the completed swab
- Returning the sample for testing
View step-by-step self-collect swab instructions
A series of questions and answers below explains the process of self-collect for COVID-19 testing.
- A valid pathology request form for COVID-19 testing is required.
- Once you have this request form, please call our Booking Office on (02) 4224 7474 for the Illawarra Region and (02) 4422 9103 for the Shoalhaven & Eurobodalla to obtain a self-collect swab kit. Patients will be advised of a convenient pick up and drop off centre.
- Pick up your self-collect swab from one of our designated COVID-19 pick up and dropp off self-collect centres.
Please do not attend a collection centre without contacting our Booking Office in advance.
A combined throat and nasal specimen is required for COVID-19 testing. Both collections are performed using a single swab.
- Wash or sanitise hands.
- Ensure the tube with orange lid is labelled with surname, first name, date of birth, gender, time and date of collection, and throat and nasal swab.
1) Open packet which contains the swab and orange lid tube. Unscrew the orange lid and stand the tube upright, taking care not to spill the liquid.
2) Remove the swab from the packet by gripping the end which does NOT have the padded tip.
3) In front of a mirror, tilt your head back slightly and stick your tongue out.
4) If necessary, use a tongue depressor to push the back of the tongue down and expose the tonsil area.
5) Without touching the sides of the mouth, swab the back of the throat and the tonsil area on both sides of the throat.
6) Withdraw the swab carefully, taking care not to touch any other part of the mouth.
7) Using the same swab, insert the tip 2–3 cm horizontally into one nostril, as far as is comfortably possible.
8) Rotate the swab 5 times and then leave in position for 5–10 seconds to absorb any material present.
9) Withdraw the swab carefully, taking care not to touch the exposed tip.
10) Insert swab shaft into tube, snap shaft at marked line.
11) Screw the lid firmly onto the tube (with swab inside) to ensure no leakage.
- Place your labelled tube (with swab inside) into the pathology specimen bag provided and seal the opening using the ziplock feature.
- Ensure all your personal details on the pathology request form are correct, then fold the form and place into the side pocket on the pathology specimen bag.
- Do NOT return the tongue depressor, please dispose of it appropriately.
Please return the pathology specimen bag, containing the tube (with swab inside) for testing by placing it in the box marked ‘SELF-COLLECT SWABS DROP-OFF’ located at the designated collection centre.
Once you have returned your self-collected swab, please continue to self-isolate until results are available through your doctor within 48 hours.*
*This may vary depending on daily test volumes