News Coronavirus State-backed RAT scheme kicks off

State-backed RAT scheme kicks off

Testing and isolation remain critical to SA's virus response, says Nicola Spurrier. Photo: AAP
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Close to 85 per cent of South Australia’s COVID-19 infections are now the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants, the figure increasing even as total case numbers fall.

SA reported 2364 new infections on Sunday, down from more than 5000 about 10 days ago.

The fall came as the state-backed scheme to provide free rapid antigen tests to concession card holders kicked in on Monday.

The previous federal government program to provide them free through pharmacies ended on Sunday.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said testing and isolation remained critical elements of SA’s virus response.

“Rapid testing allows us to find out who is infectious and along with isolation away from others and close contact management, stops chains of transmission to others,” she said.

“Rapid testing also allows early access to lifesaving antiviral treatments for those more susceptible to the severe impacts of COVID-19.”

Local concession card holders are allowed up to 10 tests from now until the end of September.

They will be available at more than 50 existing collection sites, which are currently used to distribute free tests to COVID-19 close contacts.

Health Minister Chris Picton said anyone eligible for the free tests was encouraged to take advantage of the program.

“As we deal with this current wave, it’s as important as ever for South Australians to get tested, stay home if unwell and do what we can to reduce community transmission,” he said.