Key Point:

This is a living document based on available Rapid Antigen Testing kits, while best endeavours will be made to inform you of changes, please check back regularly to updates to this skill based on kits available

  • Patients (>2yo) presenting in the community with COVID like symptoms, including ILI transported to a WA Health emergency facility
    • Patient can self test if able to follow instructions clearly
    • Children may be tested by accompanying guardian if they can follow instructions clearly
    • If accompanying person have any symptoms as above.

    • Patient who already has a known/confirmed COVID-19 infection from a recent rapid antigen or PCR test
    • Inter hospital transfers including RFDS
    • Patient who has time critical/urgent care needs where performing a rapid antigen test would distract from provision of appropriate levels of care
    • Patient who has only called an ambulance for purposes of a rapid antigen test
     Patient Factors & Considerations
    • Do not interpret the test result before 15 minutes and after 20 minutes starting the test.
    • Rapid antigen test kits should be stored below 30 degrees but brought to room temperature before use
    • Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions. Continue wearing PPE per current interim guidance irrespective of result
    • Negative results should be considered in the context of a patient’s recent exposures, history and the presence of clinical signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
    • Excess blood or mucus on the swab specimen may interfere with test performance and may yield a false-positive result
    • Department of Health provided tests are not for staff/personal use

    The following is instructions for the WestLab / MP Biomedicals Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test card product currently being supplied by the Department of Health. Further instructions may be released at a later stage due to supply of RATs to St John WA.


    1. Test is to be conducted in stationary vehicle before departing scene for hospital/nursing post, with ambulance airflow configured per WIAMB22
    2. Ensure PPE is worn as per interim guidelines with strict adherence to hand hygiene practices
    3. Remove kit from temperature controlled storage, allow to come to room temperature and check all contents are present
    4. Place "bluey" on a clean surface and then place contents of kit onto bluey
    5. If patient (or their parent/guardian in case of children) is performing test under SJWA instruction, ensure person carrying out test completes hand hygiene
    6. From the below infographic, instruct patient or their parent/guardian on steps 4, 5 and 6 while officer completes steps 2 and 3 from the infographic. Officers may carry out the test on patient if unable to do so themselves, in this case officer carries out all steps below
    7. Hand patient or their parent/guardian the extraction tube and instruct on how to complete steps 7-9 while officer completes step 10, placing test card on bluey
    8. Patient or parent/guardian hands extraction tube back to officer who completes step 11 and starts timer for 15 minutes. At this point, you may commence the journey to hospital
    9. Once 15 minute timer has been completed, and before 20 minutes has elapsed from time test started, read result per instructions below
    10. Dispose of test card into large sharps container or alternately into clipseal bag kit provided in and disposed of in clinical waste at hospital
    11. Record result on ePCR in On Examination section or in free text of paper PCRF

    Interpreting result


    • Two distinct coloured lines appear
    • One red-coloured line next to the "C" and one red-coloured line next to the "T" indicates a COVID-19 positive result. Note that the colour intensity will vary depending on amount of COVID-19 protein present in the sample but that any faint coloured lines in the Test ("T") region should be considered as a positive.


    • One red-coloured line only next to the "C" indicates a negative result


    • If the red-coloured line in the control region ("C") is not visible, the result is invalid.
    • Handover the indeterminate / invalid result at hospital and follow advice of Health Service Provider staff

    Once the result has been interpreted, the test cassette and vial should be treated as clinical waste and disposed of in the clinical waste bag supplied or in the large sharps container in the vehicle

    • Record result in ePCR interventions and ensure result handed over to hospital staff
    • Patient unable to tolerate testing procedure
    • If result invalid / indeterminate do not retest the patient on route, handover this result to hospital and follow directions of health staff
    Additional Information
    Additional information

    Extended Care:
    Colour assist:


    Document Control

    Clinical Services

    Responsible Manager
    Head of Clinical Services


    Published Date

    Review Date

    Clinical Resources Website

    St John Ambulance Western Australia Ltd (ABN 55 028 468 715) (St John WA) operates ambulance and other pre-hospital clinical services. St John WA’s Clinical Resources, including its Clinical Practice Guidelines (Clinical Resources), are intended for use by credentialed St John WA staff and volunteers when providing clinical care to patients for or on behalf of St John WA, within the St John WA Clinical Governance Framework, and only to the extent of the clinician’s authority to practice.

    Other users – Terms of Use

    The content of the St John WA Clinical Resources is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to serve as health, medical or treatment advice. Any user of this website agrees to be bound by these Terms of Use in their use of the Clinical Resources.

    St John WA does not represent or warrant (whether express, implied, statutory, or otherwise) that the content of the Clinical Resources is accurate, reliable, up-to-date, complete or that the information contained is suitable for your needs or for any particular purpose. You are responsible for assessing whether the information is accurate, reliable, up-to-date, authentic, relevant, or complete and where appropriate, seek independent professional advice.

    St John WA expressly prohibits use of these Clinical Resources to guide clinical care of patients by organisations external to St John WA, except where these organisations have been directly engaged by St John WA to provide services. Any use of the Clinical Resources, with St John WA approval, must attribute St John WA as the creator of the Clinical Resources and include the copyright notice and (where reasonably practicable) provide a URL/hyperlink to the St John WA Clinical Resources website. 

    No permission or licence is granted to reproduce, make commercial use of, adapt, modify or create derivative works from these Clinical Resources. For permissions beyond the scope of these Terms of Use, including a commercial licence, please contact medservices@stjohnambulance.com.au

    Where links are provided to resources on external websites, St John WA:

    • Gives no assurances about the quality, accuracy or relevance of material on any linked site;
    • Accepts no legal responsibility regarding the accuracy and reliability of external material; and
    • Does not endorse any material, associated organisation, product or service on other sites.

    Your use of any external website is governed by the terms of that website, including any authorisation, requirement or licence for use of the material on that website.

    To the maximum extent permitted by law, St John WA excludes liability (including liability in negligence) for any direct, special, indirect, incidental, consequential, punitive, exemplary or other loss, cost, damage or expense arising out of, or in connection with, use or reliance on the Clinical Resources (including without limitation any interference with or damage to a user’s computer, device, software or data occurring in connection with such use).


    Please read this cookie policy carefully before using Clinical Resources from St John WA.

    The cookies used on this site are small and completely anonymous pieces of information and are stored on your computer or mobile device. The data that the cookies contain identify your user preferences (such as your preferred text size, scope / skill level preference and Colour Assist mode, among other user settings) so that they can be recalled the next time that you visit a page within Clinical Resources. These cookies are necessary to offer you the best and most efficient possible experience when accessing and navigating through our website and using its features. These cookies do not collect or send analytical information back to St John WA.

    Clinical Resources does integrate with Google Analytics and any cookies associated with this service enable us (and third-party services) to collect aggregated data for statistical purposes on how our visitors use this website. These cookies do not contain personal information such as names and email addresses and are used to help us improve your user experience of the website.

    If you want to restrict or block the cookies that are set by our website, you can do so through your browser setting. Alternatively, you can visit www.internetcookies.com, which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of browsers and devices. You will find general information about cookies and details on how to delete cookies from your device. If you have any questions about this policy or our use of cookies, please contact us.

    St John Ambulance Western Australia Ltd © Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved

    Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Copyright Statement & Disclaimer