What is Rapid Antigen Testing?
Rapid antigen testing is a screening tool to help detect COVID-19 in people without any symptoms of COVID-19.
Rapid antigen testing involves a nasal swab (using a small cotton bud) that is placed into a chemical solution. The result displays within 15 minutes.
Benefits of Rapid Antigen Testing
Rapid antigen tests have been used internationally and in Australian industries for some time to screen employees for COVID-19 with no symptoms.
Rapid antigen tests can be performed easily and onsite with results available within minutes.
Who can access Rapid Antigen Testing?
Employers, industries, schools and government agencies can implement rapid antigen testing screening and may engage a third party provider to manage this process.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) current conditions of supply require rapid antigen tests to be used under the supervision of a health practitioner who has been trained in the correct use of the device and interpretation of results. Suitably trained staff can perform the test if they are supervised by a health practitioner, either in person or via video.
A major change however will be made to the way these tests are performed shortly – and Australians will be able to self-test themselves from the comfort of their own homes as confirmed by the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on 6/9/21
Who covers the cost of rapid antigen testing?
Rapid antigen testing is screening tool that many businesses are already using to support business continuity.
Businesses and individuals are responsible for procuring their own test kits, in line with the TGA requirements, and are expected to cover the cost of implementing testing on site.
Rapid antigen testing is not covered under the Commonwealth’s Medicare Benefits Scheme.
How often should rapid antigen testing occur?
Testing every 72 hours (2-3 times per week) is recommended as a minimum for full time employees.
Daily testing is the gold standard, as this will help to identify positive cases early and avoid transmission on site. However, daily testing may not be practical for workplaces. This will be a matter for each business to determine based on their risk assessment and COVID-safe work plans in place.