Victoria’s new rapid antigen test reporting system will be able to process more than 50,000 positive cases a day, according to health authorities.
A hotline and online reporting system has been opened for Victorians who test positive for a RAT to report their ‘probable’ case.
Mandatory reporting of positive RAT results was implemented Friday, as the state recorded 21,728 new cases from 68,202 tests through the PCR lab testing system.
Six more people died and hospitalizations rose again to 644 people. There are 58 active cases in intensive care and 24 on ventilation.
“We will see fewer Victorians waiting for the results of this PCR test before they can leave and receive the care and information they need or get back to normal life,” Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said.
Anyone who receives a positive RAT will be classified as a “probable” case and will be required to self-isolate for seven days and notify their contacts. They will receive the same clinical and financial support as PCR-confirmed cases.
Test commander Jeroen Weimar said the hotline and form will check for symptoms, whether people are a contact, the support they need, their vaccination status and pre-existing conditions.
He said it would help deliver care faster.
The system has the capacity to process 50,000 reports a day, but he confirmed this could be scaled up if needed.
RATs have sometimes proven difficult to find, but it is hoped that their use will reduce the strain on the overburdened PCR testing system.
As of 9 a.m. Friday, 18 state-run PCR testing sites had reached capacity and closed, up from 35 sites by the same time Thursday, as RAT rules went into effect overnight.
Victoria is rolling out the rapid tests at state-run testing sites. On Wednesday, four sites distributed RATs as part of a pilot program, and on Thursday that figure rose to 24 mostly metropolitan sites where asymptomatic people were offered the rapid test to use at home.
The 44 million tests ordered by the state are in transit, with the first orders already starting to arrive, Weimar said.
Bookings are also open for children aged 5 to 11 to be vaccinated, with 25,000 appointments booked within 24 hours of the opening of bookings.
Restrictions have also been reintroduced, including density limits of one person per two square meters for indoor hospitality and entertainment venues.
Australian Associated Press