The Victorian Government has received the first major delivery of 3 million Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) from its recent bulk order of 44 million, with distribution to key workforces to commence from tomorrow.
Workers in sensitive settings and essential workforces will be prioritised to receive the RATs as part of the initial rollout. This includes essential workers in our health system, emergency services, and disability and aged care services.
Prioritising health care workers will help key staff return to work, and further protect the people in their care through regular screening.
Victorians who may have pre-existing conditions that make them susceptible to severe illness will also be prioritised – ensuring diagnosis and care can be provided as quickly as possible.
In addition, more than 60 grassroots community and multifaith organisations are also distributing free RATs to many Victorians in need as part of their existing care and support programs.
More than 400,000 RATs were distributed at more than 60 Victorian PCR testing centres last week.
The number of free RATs distributed via PCR testing sites has increased daily, with 91,000 distributed yesterday compared with 1,900 on day one of the program.
The distribution of free RATs has helped to reduce the pressure on the PCR testing system, significantly reducing PCR testing wait times.
Victoria was the first state in Australia to record and publicly report the number of people who have tested positive on a RAT, and the first state to distribute them free to the community through our established testing system.
Since the RAT reporting system opened on Friday 7 January, 145,580 Victorians have reported a positive result either via the coronavirus website or by phone.
If you test positive on a RAT, you must report your positive result to the Department of Health by visiting www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/report or calling 1800 675 398. Dial 0 for translations.
As stated by Premier Daniel Andrews
“Thanks to our bulk order of tests, Victorians will soon be able to reliably obtain a free RAT. As more tests progressively arrive, we’ll continue to roll them out to those who need them.”
“As we continue to test, there’s nothing more important than getting your third dose – it will not only give you better protection against COVID-19, but also significantly slow transmission.”