Bass Coast Health is hopeful the availability of rapid antigen test kits at its Wonthaggi drive-through testing centre will ease congestion and increase efficiency.

 

COVID testing at Wonthaggi is changing, with Rapid Antigen Tests to be provided at the local drive-through testing tent when available.

Bass Coast Health has advised that their COVID testing tent at Wonthaggi will from tomorrow, Thursday, January 20, be offering Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) to the community, as well as PCR Tests.

BCH will start distributing RATs from the Wonthaggi testing site whenever RATs are available, noting that a small supply was received on Wednesday and would be ready for distribution on Thursday.

Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child said the change in process would strengthen the local testing regime, and she expected that eventually RATs will be available 7 days-a-week as soon as supply of RATS was more secure.

“People will continue to have access to PCR testing going forward, and we will also facilitate access to RATS as and when they become available. I imagine in the not too distant future, a Rapid Antigen Test will be a first option for most people needing testing, especially if you have symptoms or are a contact of someone who has COVID-19,” Ms Child said.

“We have setup a tent in Baillieu Street East, next to the former Wonthaggi Secondary College site, where our staff will triage all cars presenting for a test and direct cars to the appropriate line to get the most suitable test.

“RATs will be given to people deemed to be eligible for one and they will be able to return home to conduct the tests. Those people who are assessed as requiring a PCR Test will be able to proceed to the line for a PCR Test.”

On the days when no RATs are available, the marquee in Baillieu Street East will be closed and traffic will proceed as it has for the past 18 months, to the PCR testing line.

Rapid Antigen Tests will generally be distributed to those who meet the Department of Health criteria for confirmed household/household-like contacts, social contacts and workplace/education contacts.

Close contact: Someone who lives or stays overnight in the same premises as a confirmed case or has had a total of four or more hours of contact (cumulative) in a residential setting during their infectious period.

They could also be someone who has been determined to be a close contact of a diagnosed person by an officer or nominated representative of the Department of Health, including in the event of an outbreak, and has been given notice of this.

Workplace/education contacts: Someone who does not meet the close contact definition and who – in any workplace or education facility – has had:

  • at least 15 minutes face-to-face contact, or
  • more than two hours within the same room with a confirmed case of COVID-19 during their infectious period.

Social contact: Someone who does not meet the close contact definition and who outside a workplace or education facility has had:

  • at least 15 minutes face-to-face contact, or
  • more than two hours within the same room with a confirmed case of COVID-19 during their infectious period.

PCR tests will continue to be available for people who would prefer a PCR, and they will be particularly beneficial for those community members who have had a positive Rapid Antigen Test at home, who don’t have symptoms and don’t believe they have been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19.

“Once again, my plea to the community is to be patient in these tricky times. As soon as we have RAT’s available, we will distribute them through our tent, but if there are days where we don’t have them available (whilst the supply chain is still getting sorted), please be kind to our staff who are doing their very best. Our sign boards will indicate when RATS area available and we ask that people follow the traffic controller instructions as they line up for tests.”