News State Western Australia News WA ups free RATs as COVID-19 spike looms

WA ups free RATs as COVID-19 spike looms

Rapid test
Pathology Technology Australia CEO said rapid flu tests could help decide what treatments patients need faster. Photo: Getty
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West Australia has posted 5377 new COVID-19 infections, as more free rapid antigen tests are delivered to households ahead of an expected peak in case numbers.

Active cases in WA have risen to 27,465, Premier Mark McGowan confirmed on Tuesday.

There are 112 people in the state’s hospital system with COVID-19, an increase of three from Monday’s tally, of which five patients are in ICU.

The latest figures come as registered WA households are being sent an extra 10 RATs, after the overall program was increased by 10.5 million kits.

This will bring the total number of tests supplied to each of 650,000 registered households since the program began in February to 15.

“By providing free RATs to all Western Australians, we are able to ensure everyone is prepared for the wave of Omicron and best placed to stay safe and limit unnecessary spread of the virus,” Mr McGowan said on Tuesday.

“The reporting of positive RATs is starting to outweigh the reporting of positive PCR tests and the provision of these free RATs will ensure people have them on hand as they need them – for ease and convenience.”

West Australians can also pick up free RATs at pop-up sites in public places in metropolitan and regional areas.

Some 500,000 tests will be handed out at train stations, major events, universities, TAFEs and shopping centres.

For remote communities, 74,000 tests will be distributed directly to households.

As well, every state MP will be given 1000 tests to give to constituents.

The Omicron variant is spreading through WA after it opened its borders to travellers earlier this month.

A new 24-bed intensive care unit will open at Royal Perth Hospital on Wednesday to treat people infected with the virus.