Date published: 
14 October 2021
Type: 
Subscriber announcement
Intended audience: 
Health sector

Rapid antigen testing is proving highly successful in screening staff and visitors for COVID-19 with results in 15 minutes. Screening staff and visitors before entering an aged care environment, such as a residential aged care facility, minimises the risk of an outbreak.

The Australian Government encourages all eligible aged care providers in high risk Victorian LGAs to implement rapid antigen test screening as an additional layer of protection for senior Australians who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, and as a tool to ultimately protect your residents and workers.

Importantly, the use of rapid antigen testing will complement, and will not replace, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Any positive rapid antigen test result will require staff to isolate and for the test to be confirmed by a follow-up PCR test in a laboratory.

Who is eligible for a rapid antigen test kit?

All aged care providers and workers in high risk areas. This includes residential aged care (including MPS and NATSIFAC), home care, services delivered through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and Short Term Restorative Care (STRC) who operate or have staff who live or work in a high-risk LGA.

As of 13 October, identified high-risk LGAs in Victoria include:

  • Greater Melbourne: Brimbank, Casey, and Cardinia, Darebin, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Port Phillip, Whittlesea, and Wyndham.
  • Greater Victoria: Mitchell Shire, Mildura.

How to order

Eligible providers can order online via the Rapid Antigen Testing Order Form.

How do the rapid antigen test kits work?

After ordering kits, the providers will receive information, training and support to implement rapid antigen testing. Testing needs to be administered or supervised by a registered health practitioner (onsite or remotely), however, a training provider will ensure they are able to competently administer the test and advise on appropriate protocols for screening.

More information is available on the Rapid antigen testing for aged care webpage.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) also sets out regulations that apply to rapid antigen test kits, conditions of supply and frequently asked questions on the supply of rapid antigen tests.