Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) kits to be used more often

From today Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) kits will be used more often within the Hawke’s Bay community for people who have COVID-19 symptoms, have been to a location of interest, or have been identified as a household or close contact.

COVID-19 Senior Responsible Officer Chris Mckenna said the new testing guidelines came into effect at midnight when New Zealand moved into Omicron Phase 3.

“Over the coming days RAT tests will be free for those who fit the criteria at locations where COVID testing is provided, with many locations such as drive-ins already equipped and ready to go from today.

“Testing staff will determine which test (PCR or RAT) is best for you as it may be clinically appropriate for some people to get a PCR.

“The Healthpoint website www.healthpoint.co.nz lists community collection sites for RAT kits for critical workers and household contacts, as well as testing locations, by region.”

Mrs McKenna said care in the community was key in Omicron Phase 3 and ensuring individuals and whānau were prepared to isolate at home was crucial.

“If you haven’t thought through a plan, then take some time to do this by downloading the COVID-19 Readiness Checklist which helps individuals and whānau to prepare and be ready to support each other if needed. https://covid19.govt.nz/prepare-and-stay-safe/be-prepared-for-covid-19/.

“Our locally-led Hawke’s Bay COVID Coordination Centre will continue to focus on wraparound supports to those most in need within our communities with representatives across councils, MSD, iwi, health, disability and various welfare providers all working together to provide outreach across the rohe.”

People who tested positive for COVID-19 using a RAT needed to record their result in My Covid Record, as well as advise their employer.  Those not able to access My Covid Record should call 0800-222-478 to register their positive result and receive advice.

“Health and welfare support services and clinical care will focus on those with high needs.

“The Hawke’s Bay COVID Coordination Centre has been operational since Christmas and is a multidisciplinary team made up of Health, Welfare, Iwi, Pacific and multi ethnic representatives who are already doing a fantastic job in this space.”

Mrs McKenna said there were many health supports and tools available within the community and people should be aware of alternative supports during this phase of the pandemic.

“General practices, after-hours health centres, community nurses, Māori Health providers, pharmacies and all other non-government health providers are doing an amazing job constantly adapting and changing to the fluid situation we find ourselves in.

“If it’s not an emergency, and you are needing general health advice, there are many other tools and services available such as the Health Navigator website www.healthnavigator.org.nz which has trusted health advice and resources, or freephone health advice via Healthline on 0800-611-116 where you can speak with a registered nurse for free anytime of the day or night.”

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 remains the best defence from serious illness for both adults and children as those vaccinated are far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus.

A list of COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites in Hawke’s Bay can be found here.

For full information on COVID-19 Omicron Phase 3 visit www.COVID19.govt.nz



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