Rapid Antigen Testing have been made available at Waikato Community Testing Centres.
The Greenwood and Founders Theatre carpark testing sites in Hamilton were first to provide the tests – RATs – to those who fit a clinical criteria. The sites will determine which test is best for people who turn up for a test.
RATs will be rolled out to the other Waikato testing sites throughout the week depending on the demand for testing in those areas.
The Waikato District Health Board says people should not visit their GP or pharmacy for a test or call them for guidance on RAT eligibility at Community Testing Centres.
People who are directed to have a rapid antigen test will be given advice on what to do if they have a positive result. They will probably be advised that they need to have a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to confirm the positive result.
The Waikato District Health Board says 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,” a spokesperson said.
“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 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.”
The Board has also confirmed Covid tests in Waikato are taking up to seven days to process.
“Waikato DHB’s laboratory continues to expand capacity but… there are still high numbers of tests being submitted for those who do not meet the criteria.
“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.” Executive Lead Covid-19 response, Maree Munro said.