South Park to host first rapid test pickup site

The state government will establish a collection center in the park’s southern lands for close COVID contacts to collect free rapid antigen tests from tomorrow, although the health minister concedes he there will likely be “teething problems” as the site struggles with high demand.

The state’s first distribution center for rapid antigen testing will offer two free tests to people considered close contacts of COVID cases.

The free tests will not be accessible to the general public.

Close contacts who receive a free RAT at the South Park Lands site will need to enter their results into the SA Health system.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said more distribution sites would go live “within the next week”.

“Now is the time to move from RATs as a monitoring tool to a diagnostic tool in itself,” he told ABC Radio this morning.

“Starting tomorrow, people will be able to take a RAT test if they are close contact and the RAT test itself will confirm their COVID status. “

Prime Minister Steven Marshall provided more details about the center this afternoon and announced that South Australia had recorded 3,715 more cases and seven deaths.

Wade insisted that the move to RAT test distribution is “not motivated by the [testing] system not being able to cope, “and said the ongoing delays at South Australia’s PCR testing sites are” nothing like what we’re seeing between states. “

However, he conceded that there would likely be early problems with the RAT fulfillment center as it meets the growing demand for testing.

“I expect there will be some start-up issues – it’s very difficult to predict demand,” he said.

“We are very keen on being responsive, but we ask the community to be patient. “

South Australia currently manages more than 33,000 active cases of COVID-19, although only 2,921 cases were reported on Tuesday, up from three consecutive days of more than 4,000 infections.

However, the number of tests carried out on Monday also fell to 18,433 as the hot weather forced the closure of several metropolitan test sites.

Monday was only the second time this year that the state’s daily test count has fallen below 20,000.

Labor today called on the state government to make reporting of TAR results mandatory, as has been done in New South Wales and Victoria.

“If we don’t have an accurate picture of COVID cases – including when people test positive for rapid antigen tests – we won’t know where they might have caught it and who could be close contacts, which makes it very difficult to limit the spread of the virus, ”said Shadow Treasure spokesman Stephen Mullighan.

“If people don’t have to report positive results, then SA Health won’t know who has it and whether they are receiving the health care they need.

Wade, who asked if the lower testing rate provided an inaccurate picture, said the number of people hospitalized with the virus is “consistent with the level of illness suggested by the testing regimen.”

Admissions to SA’s COVID hospital fell from 188 to 211 people on Tuesday, forcing the state government to make further changes to free up bed capacity in state public hospitals.

Some non-COVID patients from public hospitals will be transferred to private wards for treatment and surgery while Lyell McEwin and Flinders Medical Center are now each preparing to accommodate 100 dedicated hospital beds for COVID patients.

The Royal Adelaide Hospital will also make changes to patient flow to increase its COVID bed capacity from 200 to 300 beds. This is in addition to a temporary suspension of elective “elective” surgery announced last month.

State government says local health networks are now undertaking ‘detailed planning’ to determine which services and beds can be moved to other sites to free up capacity, with global changes expected to result in an additional 500 COVID beds and 60 places of intensive care.

There are currently 22 people in intensive care and four on ventilators in South Australia. There have been 15 COVID-positive deaths during the Omicron outbreak in the state.

Wade said the Omicron outbreak – which has yet to peak – has overtaken the state’s hospital capacity modeling that focused on the Delta variant.

“Regarding Delta, we expected the Royal Adelaide Hospital to be the dedicated COVID-positive hospital with an inpatient capacity of around 200,” he said.

“But with the updated Omicron plan, we will significantly use three of the tertiary hospitals – the RAH, Lyell McEwin and Flinders Medical Center – for adults, with a total of 500 beds.

“This is made possible thanks to our partnership with private hospitals, we stopped elective surgery a few weeks ago, so we will be able to take advantage of their hospital capacity.”

The health minister said he was now “very confident” that the new plan will meet hospital needs anticipated at the height of the epidemic.

42 COVID deaths in NSW and Victoria

South Australia’s plan to increase the capacity of COVID services comes with public hospitals in New South Wales and Victoria coming under increasing pressure.

A total of 42 deaths from COVID-19 have been recorded in the two jurisdictions today – 21 in each state.

Victoria reported 40,127 new infections overnight and currently manages just under 210,000 active cases.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus in Victoria rose from 861 to 946, with 112 people in intensive care and 31 requiring ventilators.

Nearly 4,000 hospital workers and 442 Victoria Ambulance staff were unable to work on Monday due to a contract with COVID-19 or close contact with positive cases.

On Tuesday Ambulance Victoria issued its second code red alert in a week due to “extremely high demand for ambulances” in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, in New South Wales, 2,242 people are hospitalized with the virus, including 175 in intensive care.

The state recorded 34,759 cases out of 134,411 PCR tests on Tuesday, meaning one in four people tested returned a positive result, although authorities suspect the true number of infections is higher with DNA tests. rapid antigen positive not included in the figures.

In response, the New South Wales government announced today that residents are now required to report any positive results they receive from a rapid test.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the change to the testing regime was not just about number tracking, but was intended to ensure NSW Health understands who has underlying conditions and may need more care.

Starting Wednesday, residents aged 16 and over will have 24 hours to report their positive results to authorities using the ServiceNSW app or website.

“The application is transparent… it will only take a few minutes,” Perrottet said.

Residents will be required to report each positive result, unless they have tested positive on a PCR test within the previous four weeks.

They will also need to provide information to find out if they have any underlying conditions.

The penalty in NSW for failing to register the result is a fine of $ 1,000, with enforcement due to begin on January 19.

– with AAP

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