From 1 January 2022, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 testing in Victoria under the aged care program operated by Sonic Healthcare and its subsidiary pathology providers (e.g. Melbourne Pathology) will continue to operate with clinical oversight from either a medical practitioner, the Public Health Unit (PHU) or the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) for residential aged care facilities that have a COVID-19 outbreak, a Case Exposure or are located within a designated area of high COVID-19 risk as declared.
Some Victorian RACFs currently request self-collect swabs from Melbourne Pathology and return the samples for routine asymptomatic testing of staff. From 1 January 2022, routine asymptomatic testing for staff through PCR testing will not be covered by the in-reach program. RACFs requesting PCR testing in these circumstances will need to pay for the testing themselves or transition to using rapid antigen testing.
Rapid Antigen Testing
The Australian Government, Department of Health (the Department) is making available rapid antigen test (RAT) kits and training to eligible residential aged care facilities across Australia, to protect older Australians as we open Australia through the National Plan. More information on the program including eligibility criteria and process for ordering is available at Rapid antigen testing for aged care | Australian Government Department of Health.