• Leamington Medical Centre

Press Release: Rapid Antigen Testing in the Waikato

Updated: Mar 1

Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) will be available at Waikato Community Testing Centres from Tuesday 22 February, with the Greenwood and Founders Theatre carpark testing sites the first to provide RATs to those who fit the appropriate clinical criteria. The sites will determine which (PCR or a rapid antigen test) is best for people who turn up for a test.

People who are directed to have a rapid antigen test will be given advice on what to do if they have a positive result. At the current time, they will likely be advised that they need to have a PCR test to confirm the positive result.

The use of rapid antigen testing, alongside PCR testing, will speed up the testing process as demand increases. As the outbreak grows more people will have COVID-19 and there will be more close contacts we need to test. The Government has confirmed that there are good stocks of RATs to support the public health response.

Waikato DHB is asking people to ensure they meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing as demand is very high across the region, and we continue to see high numbers of people who do not meet the testing criteria. This is holding up those who do need to be tested.

Please seek a test if you are unwell with cold or flu symptoms, or have been instructed to do so by health officials. If you’re a close contact that lives in the same house with a positive case, get a test for COVID-19 on day 3, and on day 10 of the isolation period.

If you do not meet this criteria, please do not seek a test as this contributes to long queues at testing centres and delays in processing results.

Community Testing Centres have increased screening of those seeking a test to help prevent those who do not need a test from waiting in line, and to speed up access for those who do. We are also asking all those identified as essential or critical workers to make this clear to the testing staff. Samples for those individuals will be processed as a priority, with results expected within three days.