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Rapid Antigen Testing In The Waikato

Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) will be available at Waikato Community Testing Centres from tomorrow (Tuesday 22 February), with the Greenwood and Founders Theatre carpark testing sites the first to provide RATs to those who fit the appropriate clinical criteria. The sites will determine which (PCR or a rapid antigen test) is best for people who turn up for a test.

People who are directed to have a rapid antigen test will be given advice on what to do if they have a positive result. At the current time, they will likely be advised that they need to have a PCR test to confirm the positive result.

RATs will be rolled out to the other Waikato testing sites throughout the week depending on the demand for testing in those areas. At this time, please do not visit your GP or pharmacy for a RAT test or call them for guidance on RAT eligibility at Community Testing Centres. We will be providing further updates on the rollout to other testing providers as it progresses.

The use of rapid antigen testing, alongside PCR testing, will speed up the testing process as demand increases. As the outbreak grows more people will have COVID-19 and there will be more close contacts we need to test. The Government has confirmed that there are good stocks of RATs to support the public health response.

Waikato DHB is asking people to ensure they meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing as demand is very high across the region, and we continue to see high numbers of people who do not meet the testing criteria. This is holding up those who do need to be tested.

Please seek a test if you are unwell with cold or flu symptoms, have been identified as a close contact of a case or have been instructed to do so by health officials. If you have been notified as a close contact get a test for COVID-19 on day 5 after your last contact with the case. If you’re a close contact that lives in the same house with a positive case, get a test for COVID-19 on day 3, and on day 8 of the isolation period.

If you do not meet this criteria, please do not seek a test as this contributes to long queues at testing centres and delays in processing results.

Community Testing Centres have increased screening of those seeking a test to help prevent those who do not need a test from waiting in line, and to speed up access for those who do. We are also asking all those identified as essential or critical workers to make this clear to the testing staff. Samples for those individuals will be processed as a priority, with results expected within three days.

Some COVID-19 test results for Waikato are currently taking longer to process. Waikato DHB’s laboratory continues to expand capacity but is advising that non-priority test results may require up to seven days at this time as there are still high numbers of tests being submitted for those who do not meet the criteria.

Executive Lead COVID-19 response, Maree Munro says, “the response from our Waikato community to get tested and follow the national guidance throughout this pandemic has been fantastic and a key part of our response. As the guidance is updated to reflect the latest data and what is happening in our community, we’re asking people to please continue getting tested, but to make sure they match the testing criteria so our system remains responsive and accessible and our public health resources are allocated effectively.”

Testing continues to be one of our best defences against COVID-19. Please, be patient. Our staff are doing the best they can to help in a timely way.

© Scoop Media

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