WA public hospital emergency departments (ED) will bolster their COVID-safe measures by screening patients using Rapid Antigen Tests before they enter.
This new measure is an additional way hospital staff can screen patients who have COVID-19 symptoms or have been to a known exposure location.
The introduction of RATs means greater protection for patients, staff and the community as workers can more easily identify those patients that need COVID-19 precautions before entering the ED.
Fiona Stanley, Royal Perth, Rockingham, Sir Charles Gardiner and Perth Children’s hospitals have introduced RATs with other metropolitan hospitals to follow next week.
Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River hospitals will commence using RATs today with other hospitals in the South West including Augusta, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown, Collie, Donnybrook, Harvey, Nannup, Pemberton and Warren (Manjimup) hospitals from Monday February 7.
RATs are an important tool to enable WA to manage its response to COVID-19 and they are in hospital emergency departments where there is community transmission in the local area.
RATs complement PCR testing, which is part of WA’s robust testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine regime currently being applied.
When there is widespread community transmission in Western Australia, use of RATs for diagnosis will be further expanded to become a tool in the public health response.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“As a Government and a community we need to put in place measures to minimise the impact of Omicron.
“Using Rapid Antigen Tests, in addition to other public health measures, in emergency departments will mean patients who need COVID-19 precautions will be identified quickly and will keep staff and other patients better protected from the virus.
“WA has been progressively securing large volumes of Rapid Antigen Tests since Omicron spread in Australia, to help bolster our State’s response to COVID-19.
“The procurement of these tests is another weapon in our arsenal to keep WA safe and protect Western Australians from the worst of COVID.”
As stated by Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
“The introduction of Rapid Antigen Tests into emergency departments today is another tool for hospitals to screen for the virus.
“WA has worked hard to minimise the spread of the virus, but it is important that Western Australians get tested immediately if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
“There is lots of capacity at our PCR testing clinics, with PCRs still the preferred testing approach.
“If everyone does the right thing, we have the best chance of minimising the disruption Omicron will cause in our community.”