Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Testing 2021

 

Rapid Antigen Testing Kits

 

The tests are quick and easy and allow NSW Health to help find COVID-19 in people who do not have symptoms. 

Some advice from NSW health on how the testing works:

  • Rapid antigen testing is a screening tool to help detect COVID-19 in people without any symptoms of covid19.
  • Rapid antigen testing involves a nasal swab (using a small cotton bud) that is placed into a chemical solution The result displays within 10 to 15 minutes. 
  • Rapid antigen tests can be performed easily with results available within minutes.
  • Rapid antigen tests will detect most cases of COVID-19 but are not as accurate as the standard test (PCR). 
  • If you develop symptoms or are identified as a close or casual contact of someone who has COVID-19, you must get tested at a clinic and self-isolate.

Who can access rapid antigen testing?

Employers, industries, schools, and government agencies have implemented rapid antigen testing screening and may engage a third-party provider to manage this process. NSW Health has established procedures to guide workplaces and schools conducting rapid antigen screening onsite.

To support the safe use of rapid antigen self-tests, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has announced it will make a new regulation to allow companies to legally supply their self-tests for use at home in Australia from 1 November 2021.

Individual tests will require TGA approval and inclusion in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) as for all other testing kits. The TGA continues to work with suppliers and manufacturers of self-tests to ensure:

  • instructions for use are written in a way that all consumers can understand
  • usability testing has been successful
  • self-tests perform satisfactorily against variants such as Delta.

An important step in implementing the use of these tests at home includes enabling any consumer who has a positive rapid antigen test result to immediately have a confirmatory PCR test at a COVID-19 testing clinic.

Who covers the cost of rapid antigen testing?

Rapid antigen testing is screening tool that many businesses are already using to support business continuity.

Businesses are responsible for procuring their own test kits, in line with the TGA requirements, and are expected to cover the cost of implementing testing on site. 

Rapid antigen testing is not covered under the Commonwealth’s Medicare Benefits Scheme.

How is rapid antigen testing different to other testing?

A rapid antigen test is a screening test that is used to potentially identify positive cases earlier to help reduce the spread of the virus and prevent outbreaks. When used regularly, rapid antigen tests help identify individuals who may be infectious early on. Individuals can be pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic but still carry the virus and may transmit it to others.

A standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is a diagnostic test, and can confirm if someone has COVID-19, with results available in approximately 24 hours. These tests take a deep nasal sample and throat sample and are tested in laboratories.

A positive rapid antigen test doesn’t mean you necessarily have COVID-19, it means you need to get a standard (PCR) test straight away to confirm the result.

If you get a positive rapid antigen test result, you must:

immediately get a standard covid 19 tests (PCR) at a specified NSW testing clinic to confirm the result of your screening test

isolate until you get a negative result from NSW Health.

Isolating immediately after your positive result, or if you have symptoms, can help break chains of transmission and limit the spread of COVID-19.

If you get a negative test result:

Individuals must continue to follow the latest health advice and restrictions in their area. 

Rapid antigen testing is not appropriate if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. You must get a standard COVID-19 test (PCR) at a COVID-19 testing clinic in NSW and isolate, including from your household members, until you receive a negative result.

The only way to rule out COVID-19 is to have a standard test (PCR), even if you have only mild symptoms.

https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/stay-safe/testing/how-testing-works/rapid-antigen-testing