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Need to take a Rapid Antigen Test?

A Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) is a quick way to test if you are positive for COVID-19. Sometimes these tests can detect COVID-19 infection before you develop any symptoms. RATs are quick to use and return your test result within 10 to 30 minutes. These tests can be done by yourself at home.

There are a number of different types of RAT kits available - instructions differ between brands and kits so ensure you read the instructions carefully before getting started with your test.

You’ll find Rapid Antigen Tests are available to purchase from Pharmacy 777 pharmacies. Please note, stock availability for RATs will vary from each Pharmacy 777 location.  

Do you have a Commonwealth concession card? Until the end of April, if you have an eligible Commonwealth concession card, you can access up to 10 free RATs from participating pharmacies? To find out more visit the Department of Health website. 

As of the 27th February, every household in WA can register to receive 5 free Rapid Antigen Tests and have the tests delivered to your home. To find out more and to register, click here


WHAT TYPES OF TESTS ARE AVAILABLE? 

There are two types of Rapid Antigen Tests which involve taking either a saliva sample or a nasal swab. There are many brands of home use tests available and whilst each kit has many of the same components, each one is slightly different. It is important to follow the step-by-step instructions that are provided with the test as not following these instructions may produce an incorrect result.

For tests that use a saliva sample, it is important you do not eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum for 10–30 minutes before collecting your sample as residue can affect your result. Some saliva tests involve spitting into a tube and others you suck on a swab. Always refer to the instructions for use provided with your test kit. 

Other important considerations to keep in mind are:

  • Tests must be at room temperature before using them, so if you have stored it in the fridge, take it out for 30 minutes prior. 
  • You might need to cough several times or blow your nose before taking the test
  • Be sure to wash or sanitise your hands before getting started. 
  • Make sure to have a watch or a timer handy as you’ll only have 5 minutes to read your result once it’s ready. 
  • Before you test, check the expiry date on the box and don’t use the test if expired. 
  • Don’t take the test cassette out of the pouch until you are ready to test
  • All tests are for single use only which means you can only use each test once and then it must be thrown away. 
  • Dispose of all the test kit components in the bag provided and then into your household bin. If no bag is provided, you can place the used items from the test into a small plastic bag that can be sealed. This bag should be put into another bag that can be sealed and disposed of with your household rubbish. Tests are not recyclable.  
  • Wash or sanitise your hands when you are finished testing.

Rapid antigen self-test kits can be used for both children and adults. Tests for children aged 12-17 should be supervised by an adult, and for children under 12, completed by an adult. Some test kits can’t be used for babies and young children so check the instructions for use provided with the test kit or speak to your pharmacist to see if your test is appropriate for your child.

If you test positive, whether you have symptoms or not, you must stay at home. Further recommendations depend on where you are located. You’ll need to register your positive result with your local health department. Registering your result is an important step so that we can all continue to manage the health of the public as we move towards living with the virus. 
 


Frequently asked questions.


  • Who should use a Rapid Antigen Test?

    The recommendations of who should use a Rapid Antigen Test depend on which state or territory you are in and are changing rapidly. 

    WA

    While Rapid Antigen Tests provide a quick result, they are more useful in high case load environments. Since case numbers in WA are only starting to rise, Western Australians should keep using PCR testing clinics as the priority as these clinics continue to be able to manage the number of PCR tests required.

    In you’re in WA, the use of rapid antigen tests can be recommended when:

    - Attending a large gathering in a crowded place such as a wedding or funeral
    - Visiting a person who is vulnerable to risks of COVID-19
    - Visiting a high-risk setting, e.g. an aged care facility, hospital or disability group home
    - Need to check quickly for COVID-19
    - Recommended by WA Health.

    If you have symptoms of COVID-19, but are not a close contact, you should get a PCR test and immediately self-isolate until you receive your result. 

    Learn more here
     

    SA

    If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should have a PCR test not a RAT. If you’re in SA and are a close contact, but have no COVID-19 symptoms, you can access Rapid Antigen Tests to complete your required tests. From SA Health, you’ll be provided a pack of Rapid Antigen Tests and must test on day 1, 3, 5 and 7 (every other day) of your quarantine period.

    You can also use Rapid Antigen Tests:

    - Before entering a high-risk setting, e.g. healthcare or aged care
    - Before going out where there may be crowds
    - Before going to work, especially if it is a critical worksite
    - To provide reassurance if you have no symptoms but are feeling anxious or worried.

    Learn more here
     

    NSW

    If you’re in NSW, Rapid Antigen Tests can be used for:

    - People with symptoms
    - Household, social, workplace or education contact of a positive case
    - Anyone before going to an event with lots of others, or before visiting vulnerable family members
    - Anyone arriving from overseas (passengers and flight crew)
    - Anyone asked by a school or childcare centre to test. 

    Learn more about testing here

  • I'm in WA, what's next if I get a positive RAT result?

    If you test positive, whether you have symptoms or not, you must stay at home. You’ll also need to register your positive result which is an important step so that we can continue to manage the health of the public as we move towards living with the virus. 

    If you test positive, whether you have symptoms or not, you must: 

    - Once you leave isolation you will need to wear a mask indoors and outdoors for the next 7 days 
    - At day 7, if symptoms are still present, continue isolating until symptoms clear or get clearance from a medical professional before leaving isolation
    - Immediately self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days
    - If no symptoms after day 7, you can leave isolation with no further testing required. 

    For the latest information about COVID-19 testing and isolation requirements in WA visit The Government of Western Australia website here

    You should register your positive Rapid Antigen Test result here as soon as possible. Healthy WA provides information about managing COVID-19 at home and looking after yourself. This factsheet contains information about assistance for people in isolation. 

    Learn more about the WA COVID Care at Home program here

     
  • I’m in SA, what’s next if I get a positive RAT result?

    If you test positive, whether you have symptoms or not, you must stay at home. You’ll also need to register your positive result which is an important step so that we can continue to manage the health of the public as we move towards living with the virus.

    If you test positive on a RAT, you must isolate for 10 days from the day you took the test. You do not need to get a PCR test to confirm the rapid antigen test result. 

    You have only completed your RAT when you have reported your result to SA Health, which can be done by completing the online form here. If you received a text message from SA Health, follow the link provided, and if you don’t have internet access you can call 1800 253 787 to report your test result. 

    Learn more and get support by visiting Advice for people who test positive and health support.

     
  • I’m in NSW, what’s next if I get a positive RAT result?

    If you test positive, whether you have symptoms or not, you must stay at home. You’ll also need to register your positive result which is an important step so that we can continue to manage the health of the public as we move towards living with the virus. In NSW, when testing with a RAT, you are a confirmed case if:

    - You test positive on a RAT and have symptoms
    - You test positive on a RAT, but don’t necessarily have symptoms, but have had a high-risk exposure or are a household contact.

    It is important to remember, if you test positive, but don’t have any symptoms and you are not a known contact, you may still be a case. You should take RAT in 24 hours or have a PCR test. 

    You do not need to have your Rapid Antigen Test confirmed with a PCR test unless you have:

    - COVID-19 symptoms, but have tested negative on a rapid antigen test AND are at higher risk of severe disease - including those who are pregnant, immunosuppressed, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, or unvaccinated
    - COVID-19 symptoms and can’t get a Rapid Antigen Test
    - Been asked to have a PCR test from a health care provider.

    If you’re a confirmed case, follow the advice for people testing positive to COVID-19 and self-isolate for 7 days from the date of your positive Rapid Antigen Test. 

    You should register your positive Rapid Antigen Test result here as soon as possible. This factsheet has important information about how your health will be managed whilst you are in isolation and next steps. 

     
  • I’m in WA, what’s next if I get a negative RAT result?

    If you have symptoms of COVID-19, but are not a close contact, you should get a PCR test and immediately self-isolate until you receive your result. If you receive a positive PCR test, follow the positive case health guidelines from WA Health. If you receive a negative PCR test, you are not required to isolate but should stay home until your symptoms clear. 

    If a PCR test is not available, use another RAT and ensure you follow the instructions for use. If you test positive, follow the positive case guidelines. If you test negative, you are not required to isolate but should stay home until your symptoms clear. 

    If you’re a symptomatic close contact and test negative on a RAT, get a PCR test immediately and continue your 7-day isolation. If you cannot get a PCR test, take another RAT again in 24 hours. If you test positive on a PCR or RAT, follow the positive case guidelines. If your second RAT is negative and no new household members have tested positive, take a further RAT on day 7 before ending isolation. 

    If you don’t have symptoms but are a close contact, and test negative on a RAT or PCR test, continue to self-isolate for 7 days from the date of contact with a positive case and monitor for symptoms. If you continue to have no symptoms, take a PCR test on day 6 or a RAT on day 7. If negative and no new household members have tested positive, you can leave isolation after day 7 and monitor for symptoms. Once you leave isolation, you need to wear a mask indoors and outdoors for 7 days and avoid visiting high-risk settings such as healthcare, aged care or residential care facilities and correction facilities. 

    Please note: There have been recent updates to the 'critical worker' policy in WA, whereby if you are a ‘critical worker’ who is a close contact, you may be able to return to work only if you have no symptoms. Conditions apply. Visit WA.gov.au for more details. 

    If symptoms develop, take a PCR or another RAT as soon as possible. If positive, follow the positive case guidelines. If negative, and no new household members have tested positive, you can leave self-isolation after Day 7, and monitor for symptoms. 

    If someone in your household tests positive, start the process again and isolate for 7 days.For more information visit WA.gov.au for the latest testing and information guide. 

     
  • I’m in SA, what’s next if I get a negative RAT result?

    If you test negative and have no symptoms, then you do not need to get a PCR test to confirm the result. However, if you test negative and have COVID-19 symptoms, then you must get a PCR test to confirm the result. If you get an invalid RAT result, you must do another test. If you don’t have access to any more Rapid Antigen Tests, get a PCR test. 

    You should report the result of your RAT to SA Health even if you return a negative or invalid result. This is an important step to create a full picture of COVID-19 rates in the state. Registering your result can be done by following the link if you received a text message from SA Health, report your results by following this link, or by calling 1800 253 787 if you don’t have internet access.

  • I’m in NSW, what’s next if I get a negative RAT result?

    If you are a household contact or classified as a high-risk exposure you’ll need to continue to isolate for 7 days. You must follow the advice for people exposed to COVID-19 to determine your risk and if you are high-risk, follow the relevant isolation advice.

    Some people who have symptoms and use a Rapid Antigen Test may get a negative result. This doesn’t mean you don’t have COVID-19. You should take another test in 24 hours or have a PCR test. If your second test is negative, you should still isolate until your symptoms have gone. 

     
  • I’m sick with COVID-19, where can I get help?

    Your local Health Department is set up to support you during this time. Most people can manage their illness at home with support from their GP. When you’re not feeling well, it’s important to access healthcare early so that your healthcare team can check in with you and make sure you are supported. If you are unsure if you should call for help, it is always recommended to call. 

    Your pharmacist and team are here to support you during this time. Learn more about how the pharmacy can assist you during this time here

     
  • How can my pharmacy help?

    Your Pharmacy 777 Pharmacist is available to help answer any questions you may have about the virus and can also recommend products to assist with health and symptom management from home. Pharmacy 777 is also prepared with services* available to support you at home such as Express Delivery, Scripts on File, and online script ordering. We also encourage all patients to get their annual flu shot, a service provided at all Pharmacy 777 pharmacies that aligns with government recommendations.

    *please check with your local 777 about services available