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Rapid Antigen Tests rolled out at testing centres across Auckland

People wanting a COVID-19 test at a community testing centre in the Auckland region will be screened upon arrival by testing staff to determine which COVID-19 test is most appropriate for them and may be given a rapid antigen test (RAT) instead.

Those who meet certain criteria will be able to test themselves at home with a rapid antigen test to get an indication of whether or not they have COVID-19. Those who test positive will then need to return to a testing centre to get a regular PCR test.

Matt Hannant, Director of Operations for the Northern Region Coordination Centre (NRHCC) said: “Demand on community testing centres across Auckland has remained high, and we need to conserve PCR testing capacity to support those who need it the most.

“PCR testing is the most definite method of confirming someone has COVID-19 which means ensuring the people and communities who are most affected by the Omicron outbreak have access to PCR testing resources.

"The use of rapid antigen tests will take the pressure off the laboratories and lessen wait times at testing sites.”

These rapid antigen tests will be free under the public health response.

Currently, the only people who need to be tested are those who:

  • have COVID-19 symptoms (e.g. a fever, new or worsening cough, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, sneezing and running nose);
  • have had a positive Rapid Antigen Test;
  • are required to have a test under a mandatory testing order (e.g. a border or MIQ worker); or
  • have been told to get a test by a Health Official  

Close contacts of someone who has COVID-19 should also be tested:

  • Household contacts on a 10-day isolation pathway only need to be tested on Day 8. Day 3 testing is no longer a requirement in Auckland.
  • Non-household close contacts on a 7-day isolation pathway only need to be tested on Day 5.

We understand that some people may be feeling anxious at this time, but those who have no symptoms of COVID-19 and do not meet any other criteria do not need to be tested and may be turned away from testing services.

We thank Aucklanders for their understanding and help in ensuring testing resources are prioritised for those who need timely access to them.”

For up-to-date information on all testing locations in Auckland, visit healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/().  

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