Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt has announced COVID-19 rapid antigen testing (RAT) will take place at residential aged care facilities in Greater Sydney to further protect aged care residents, workers and their families.
COVID-19 rapid antigen testing, which was successfully trialled at Whiddon’s largest aged care facility Easton Park in Glenfield (pictured), 36km southwest of Sydney’s CBD, began at the Uniting’s Bankstown aged care facility, 16km southwest of Sydney’s CBD, on Monday.
It will be progressively rolled out to other facilities who expressed their interest in participating.
Respond Global, who conducted the two-week trial with Whiddon, has been selected to lead the program, providing the residential aged care facilities with training and protocols in using the tests and recording the RAT results. Pharmaceutical company Roche will supply the initial RAT, after being selected through a competitive tender process. It is anticipated that as the program expands, three more RAT suppliers will also supply their tests for use.
“Sadly, the pandemic’s toll in Australia last year was highest among aged care residents. That is why, along with the increased infection control training and vaccinations, we are looking at further innovations such as RAT to provide an additional layer of protection for the most vulnerable Australians,” said Mr Hunt in a statement.