You’ve just taken your COVID-19 swab test, and are currently waiting at home for the results.
How long will the wait take, and where can you check your results?
Here’s what you need to know:
How long does it take to get my swab test result?
As a general rule, it will take around 1-4 working days after administration of the test before you will be able to receive the result of your swab test in Singapore. The difference in the duration of each swab test depends heavily on the type of test that is being administered to you.
With the increase in the number of tests being taken, there may be a slight delay in receiving your swab test results. After speaking to some of my friends, it may take around 1-2 working days before you receive your result.
However, there are times when a test result can be done really quickly. The fastest that I have received my result was 6 hours after the test was being done!
Due to the increased demand for COVID-19 swab tests, the HSA has granted provisional authorisation to these test kits.
There are 3 main types of COVID-19 tests that can be used:
1. PCR Based Molecular Tests
2. Antigen Tests
3. Antibody (Serology) Tests
The antigen test can be done really quickly, and you may even be able to get your result within 30 minutes! However, there is a very high risk that you’ll receive a false negative test too.
MOH has also announced that there are 13 different labs that are conducting the tests in May 2020.
There may be different processes done by the labs before your results can be released. As such, the time taken before you can receive your result may differ greatly.
You can find out more about how the testing of your sample is being conducted below.
From my experience, doing a mass ART test is really fast, and my test results were uploaded 40 minutes after I took the test.
How can I check my swab test results?
When your swab test result is ready, you should be notified of the result via SMS, but it may be delayed. You are also able to check your swab test results on the HealthHub or Health Buddy platforms, if the swab test was processed by a lab from a Public Health Institution.
There are 5 main ways that you can check your swab test result in Singapore:
1. SMS notification from a respective agency
3. Health Buddy
4. SMS from MOH with a link
5. TraceTogether (only for past 24 hours)
Once your swab test results are out, you should receive an SMS regarding the result.
These are usually automated, but may come from different agencies.
There are 3 ways that you can receive this SMS:
1. Positive result SMS from MOH or HPB
If you received an SMS from the MOH, it will most probably mean that you have a positive COVID-19 result.
If you are a food delivery rider, you may receive your test result via SMS from the HPB as well.
When your swab test result is negative, you may receive an SMS alert from ‘MOH Swab’.
However, the response time has been quite varied for this SMS to reach you. It may come immediately when your swab test result is ready, or it may be a bit delayed.
If you are worried about your swab test result, you may consider checking the HealthHub portal to see if your result is reflected there.
2. GP clinic
If you had visited a GP and you’ve done your swab test there, you will receive an SMS from the GP if your result is negative.
However, if you have a positive result, the GP will be in touch with you.
If you went to certain polyclinics and did your swab test there, you will receive an SMS if your result is negative.
The iConnect.COVID IT system was launched to help facilitate this process. So far, only the 6 polyclinics under National University Polyclinics (NUP) are confirmed to be under this scheme.
There were plans to extend it to NHG and SingHealth Polyclinics, though there has not been any news regarding this.
If you have a negative result, you will receive an SMS. All you would need to do is to click the link in the SMS to acknowledge it.
A very messy situation
With so many different people that are supposed to contact you, it can lead to a lot of stress if you don’t receive your results. Moreover, there are too many institutions involved, so you may not know who to contact instead.
Hopefully, there will be a more centralised system to disseminate the swab test results in the future.
#2 Online via HealthHub
Alternatively, you can access the HealthHub portal to check your swab test result.
Are swab test results viewable on HealthHub?
If your swab test was conducted by a lab from a Public Health Institution, your COVID-19 swab test results will be viewable on HealthHub. However, if your test was done by a private laboratory, there is a chance that your result may not be reflected on HealthHub.
One example of a private laboratory is Parkway Health Laboratory.
There are 2 ways that you can check your result on HealthHub:
2. Mobile app
Here’s what you’ll need to do check your swab test results on HealthHub’s online portal:
1. Go to HealthHub website and select ‘Covid-19 Test Results‘
2. Login to HealthHub using your SingPass
3. View your results on the portal
You can go to the HealthHub website and select ‘Covid-19 Test Results‘.
After logging in via SingPass, you will be able to view the results of your swab test.
2. Mobile app
Here’s what you need to do to check your swab test results on the HealthHub app:
1. Go to the HealthHub app and select ‘COVID-19 Records‘
2. Login to HealthHub using your SingPass
3. View your swab test result
On the HealthHub app, you will need to select the ‘COVID-19 Records‘ tab.
You will be prompted to login to your HealthHub account using SingPass.
Once you’ve successfully logged into HealthHub, you can view the results of your COVID-19 swab test.
You are able to see your child’s COVID-19 test results too.
The process for checking your swab test result is somewhat similar to downloading your vaccination certificate.
#3 Health Buddy
Here’s what you need to do to check your swab test results on Health Buddy:
1. Go to ‘Test Results & Reports‘
2. Click on ‘Records’ and then ‘COVID-19 Test Results‘
3. View your COVID-19 swab test results
First, you’ll need to go to ‘Test Results & Reports‘ tab on the Health Buddy app.
After selecting ‘Continue’, you will be redirected to the HealthHub portal.
Once you’re on the HealthHub portal, you’ll need to select ‘Records → Covid-19 Test Results‘.
The swab test result that you see will be exactly the same as the one that is found in HealthHub.
HealthHub and Health Buddy are actually 2 different apps, and here’s a comparison between them.
However, I did have some problems accessing my swab test result directly from the Health Buddy app. I still needed to open the link on another browser before I could access the results.
As such, I believe that it would be more convenient to view your swab test results on HealthHub instead of Health Buddy!
#4 SMS from MOH with a link
You may have taken the Antigen Rapid Test (ART), which is a much faster way of testing for the presence of COVID-19 antigens.
The test usually takes around 30 minutes, before you can receive the results.
You should receive an SMS from MOH.
You will be provided with a link, which will bring you to your test result.
You may want to take note that the ART result only lasts for 24 hours.
You will most likely be taking the ART as well as the normal swab test. The ART is used to quickly detect any positive cases, especially if you have acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms.
This is mainly a precautionary measure to quickly detect and isolate any possible positive COVID-19 cases.
It may take a while, but your ART result will be found on in your HealthHub records too.
The ART results are separated from your PCR tests. This allows you to view a full history of both types of swab tests that you have done.
It is also possible for you to receive a negative swab test SMS result from MOH.
This is much more convenient, as you are able to know your result immediately, instead of having to access HealthHub to view your result!
#5 TraceTogether (only for the past 24 hours)
If you did a swab test in the past 24 hours, it is possible for you to view the result on the TraceTogether app.
It should show up under the ‘Your COVID Health Status‘ dashboard,
And you can tap on it to view more details.
This is a quick way for you to check the results of any tests you’ve done in the past 24 hours. You are considered to be ‘cleared’ of COVID-19 for 24 hours after you have taken any PCR or swab tests.
Can I check my swab test result without SingPass?
There are currently no possible ways for you to check your swab test results without a SingPass account. This is because your swab test results are uploaded onto HealthHub which requires a SingPass login.
If you are trying to check your swab test results if you do not have a SingPass account, it is not possible to do so. The only way that you may know about your result would be via an SMS from either MOH or HPB.
Can I go out while waiting for my COVID-19 test results?
If you are under a Stay Home Notice or Medical Certificate (MC), you are unable to exit your house until you receive a negative COVID-19 test result. If you have taken a pre-emptive test, you are able to, but strongly discouraged from going out.
You may have been asked to take a pre-emptive test if you visited a place with many COVID-19 cases.
In this case, you are strongly advised to minimise contact with other people while waiting for your test result. This is because there is a risk that you may be a positive case, and you may spread the virus to other people as well.
However, if you visit a clinic presenting with acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms, the doctor may issue you with a Stay Home Notice (SHN) or Medical Certificate (MC).
The terms SHN and MC are being used rather loosely in this context.
According to the Infectious Disease Regulations, you are not allowed to leave your house while you are waiting for your test result.
This can be seen in the MC that you receive too.
There have been a few cases where people left their houses while awaiting their test results. They were subsequently charged under the Infectious Disease Act.
However, this only applies if you are issued an MC or an SHN.
If you were not issued an MC or SHN, you are still able to leave your house. Nevertheless, you are strongly encouraged to stay at home!
Can I leave my house after I receive a negative COVID-19 test result?
You are able to leave your house when you receive a negative COVID-19 test result. The Stay Order only takes effect from the day that you are issued a Medical Certificate (MC), until the day that you receive a negative COVID-19 result.
Under that same statement in the Infectious Disease Regulations, you are required to stay at home, until either of these scenarios happen:
1. You receive a negative COVID-19 test result
2. Your Medical Certificate (MC) has expired
If you receive a negative COVID-19 test result before the end of your MC period, you will be able to leave your house!
The most convenient way for you to check your swab test result will be via the HealthHub Portal or App. Hopefully, there will be a way to include results from private laboratories as well.
This will help to make HealthHub a convenient platform to check all of your swab test results!
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