DHM COVID-19 Patient Instructions  for Specimen Self-Collection 22.04.2020COVID-19 self-collect swab

A self-collect swab has been made available and can be arranged in consultation with a doctor. This collection method has been validated by DHM, and testing is performed at our pathology laboratory.

Self-collected specimens have been shown to be an acceptable alternative to specimens collected by healthcare workers. A doctor referral is essential for this option.

Early detection and isolation of COVID-19-positive patients, and their contacts, may aid in mitigating community transmission

Download instructions

Animated 'how-to' instructional video

As an additional resource, this ‘how-to’ video has been created to complement the included instructions, and to further assist patients in completing a self-collection.

The video demonstrates the procedure in a step-by-step format, including:

  • Appropriate preparation
  • Throat and nasal swab collection
  • Packaging the completed swab
  • Returning the sample for testing


A series of questions and answers below explain the process of self-collect for COVID-19 testing.

1) A valid pathology request form for COVID-19 testing is required.

2) Once you have this request form, please call our COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 026 622.

3) Pick up your self-collect swab .

Please do not attend a collection centre without contacting our Hotline 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.

Throat swab DHM COVID-19 Self Collect Throat 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.

Nasal swab DHM COVID-19 Self Collect Nasal Swab

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.

1) Place your labelled tube (with swab inside) into the pathology specimen bag provided and seal the opening using the ziplock feature.

2) 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.

3) 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 centres listed here. For further coverage, an extended list of self-collect drop-off locations is now available.

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