COVID-19 testing for patients

In line with Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, all patients coming for elective surgery and other procedures that require a general anaesthetic at Epworth sites in metropolitan Melbourne require COVID-19 swabbing ahead of their procedure. This includes:

  • all elective surgery (including endoscopy)
  • emergency surgery
  • IVF and maternity
  • electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and
  • carers who will be accompanying patients overnight, including paediatric patients.

In line with DHHS guidelines, Epworth Geelong patients requiring a general anaesthetic no longer require COVID-19 testing prior to their admission if they:

  • Live in regional Victoria
  • Do not work in Metropolitan Melbourne
  • Have not visited Metropolitan Melbourne in the past 14 days
  • Do not have any COVID-19 symptoms.

This is our current advice and any updates will be shared.

Medical admissions (not involving surgery), dialysis and day-infusions do not require testing.

We request that the test be performed 72 hours prior to admission to hospital for surgery.

It is really important that self-isolate after your test, until the time of your admission to hospital (no matter what the test results are). Please don’t put yourself and others at risk by going to work, school or public places, unless you need medical help or in an emergency.

If you are unable to self-isolate prior to your admission to hospital, please discuss your situation immediately with your specialist.

If you are dependent on a carer, your carer should also get tested and then isolate with you prior to your admission to hospital.

We advise against using public transport, taxis or Ubers. If you have no alternative transport options, please wear a mask.

See below for more details about isolating.

Patient information: Isolating before your surgery (PDF, 51KB)

Where to get tested?

For any questions or advice on where to get tested, and to make an appointment, please contact our Epworth Pre Op Testing Clinics by calling 03 9426 0666. Please note: This service is for Epworth patients, caregivers and designated visitors only.

 Epworth Pre Op Testing Clinics  Opening hours

 Epworth Eastern
 Epworth Eastern Specialist Centre
 Suite 1, 120 Thames St
 Box Hill North

 Bookings required, please call 03 9426 0666

 Monday - Saturday
 8am - 6pm

 Epworth Freemasons
 Level B1, Epworth Freemasons Carpark - entry via Grey St
 East Melbourne

 Bookings required, please call 03 9426 0666

 Monday - Friday
 9am - 4pm

 You may be asked to wait in your car on arrival.

 Epworth Richmond
 34 Erin Street

 Bookings required, please call 03 9426 0666

 8am - 4pm

Melbourne Pathology sites can also provide testing for Epworth patients. All patients must present with a pathology referral from their doctor for COVID-19 testing and must book an appointment:

 Melbourne Pathology locations

 Opening hours

 159 Jasper Rd, Bentleigh

 To book, call 03 9287 7700 and select option 4 or email [email protected] 

 Monday - Friday
 8.30am - 4.30pm

 Ferntree Gully
 28 Station St, Ferntree Gully

 To book, call 03 9287 7700 and select option 4 or email [email protected]

 Monday - Friday
 8.30am - 4.30pm 

 28 Cranbourne Rd, Frankston

 To book, call 03 9287 7700 and select option 4 or email [email protected] 

 Monday - Friday
 8.30am - 4.30pm

 North Melbourne
 70 Alfred St, North Melbourne

 To book, call 03 9287 7700 and select option 4 or email [email protected]

 Monday - Friday
 8.30am - 4.30pm

For patients living in a nursing home and unable to access a testing clinic, please contact Melbourne Pathology to request testing in the nursing home. Call 03 9287 7700 and select option 4, or email [email protected].

Where a patient has obtained a test outside these sites, documentation of the test results will need to be sighted by the treating health team.

Isolating before your surgery

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have imposed guidelines for pre-operative COVID-19 testing for all elective surgical patients. We currently recommend the test be performed a minimum of five days, and no more than seven days prior to admission to hospital for surgery. Following testing, patients are advised to self-isolate until their admission to hospital.

Epworth is working with surgeons to facilitate a smooth process for COVID-19 tests, screening to be undertaken and for the completion of required admission paperwork.

Isolation before surgery involves the following for patients/carers:

  • It is important you remain at your place of residence/home.
  • DO NOT leave except to seek medical help or in an emergency. DO NOT go to work, school or public areas and DO NOT use public transport/taxi/Uber.
  • DO NOT allow other people into your place of residence if they do not live there.
  • Avoid sharing household items - Please DO NOT share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, utensils, towels, bedding or other items with any people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with hot water and detergent.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water is not available and your hands are not visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • STAY 1.5m from others in the home.

Members of the household must follow the restriction stage guidelines for their residential area.

You WILL need to isolate until you come in for your surgery.

If you become unwell, with a fever OR respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath), please visit your GP or Emergency Department, and notify the hospital.

If you have your swab taken at a non-Epworth facility, please call us to inform us of the result and bring validation of your swab result when you present for admission. This is a mandatory requirement and the admission cannot proceed without the COVID screening result.

Any questions or advice on where Epworth patients can get tested, please contact 03 9426 0666. 

Patient information: Isolating before your surgery (PDF, 52KB)

Elective surgery

From Monday, 21 Sept 2020, Epworth Geelong will increase elective surgery capacity, with our Melbourne hospitals to follow on Monday, 28 Sept 2020.

Thank you, Victoria. We’re so grateful for your patience & support during this time.

Please do not delay seeking care, contact your treating specialist or GP for assistance to access our services.


Bookings will require consultation with your specialist doctor, who will provide our hospital detailed notes around the clinical need/priority. Due to numbers being capped by government, case selection will be based on clinical priority. Please speak to your specialist if you have any questions.


To ensure the safety of our patients, doctors and staff, screening processes for patients will continue, including screening 48 hours prior to admission.

It is every patient’s responsibility to respond to screening questions and disclose symptoms, travel history and proximity to confirmed COVID-19 people honestly and accurately. Failure to do so puts patients, staff and yourself at significant risk.

Patients presenting to Epworth sites for any elective/planned booking and are required to be screened prior to their booking by phone, and re-screened on presentation for their booking.

Questions you may be asked include the following:

Do you have any of these symptoms:

  • fever or history of fever ≥ 37.5C (e.g. night sweats, chills)?
  • breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, wheezing or other signs or symptoms of respiratory infection?
  • cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose?
  • headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea?
  • any loss of sense of smell?

Have you been tested for COVID-19?

Have you had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive person?

Have you been in close contact with someone who:

  • Has travelled/transited overseas in the past 14 days?
  • Is awaiting a COVID-19 test result?
  • Is under self-isolation as per commonwealth guidelines?
  • Is symptomatic with undiagnosed respiratory symptoms?

Have you been contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services (or anyone else) and told:

  • that you have been in contact with a confirmed case?
  • to self-isolate for ANY reason?
  • to avoid hospitals / healthcare facilities?

If you answer yes to the above questions, we might ask for a few more details.

To further assist us to ensure your safety, we may also ask questions to establish if you are pregnant, immunosuppressed or over a certain age.

Emergency departments – open as usual

If you require medical treatment, it is important to seek appropriate care, especially in an emergency. Epworth emergency departments at Epworth Richmond and Epworth Geelong are here for you seven days a week.

If experiencing a medical emergency, please call 000.

If you are concerned you have COVID-19

If you have mild symptoms, call your GP or the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

You may wish to attend our emergency departments at Epworth Geelong and Epworth Richmond if:

    1. You are experiencing symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, breathing difficulties or wheezing, headache or any other signs or symptoms of respiratory infection AND
    2. You have travelled overseas in the past two weeks OR
    3. You have been in contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19

Please note: COVID-19 testing will be conducted in accordance with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines.

Low risk patients and those with mild-medium symptoms may be sent home with instructions, without testing. You may be asked to self-isolate and provided with information and advice to help manage your symptoms.