Free RATs released in SA before PCR sites close permanently

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Five free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will be offered to all South Australians over the next five weeks before all drive-through PCR testing closes statewide.
SA Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier made the announcement this afternoon COVID-19 cases had begun to plateau across the state.

But she said it was too early to say definitively whether the state had hit the peak of the current COVID-19 wave.

PCR test.
All drive-through PCR test sites will be closed in South Australia by 8 January. (Getty)

SA recorded exactly 9000 cases of the virus in the week of November 18 to 25, with 140 people hospitalized, including 11 in intensive care.

Eight deaths were recorded among people with COVID-19 during that time, in people aged from their 40s to their 90s.

Spurrier said up to half a million RATs will be available at existing RAT collection sites for people to collect for free until the end of the year.

Meanwhile, getting tested at a PCR site will no longer be free unless South Australians have a referral from a GP.

The state’s drive-through PCR testing sites will also be phased out over the next six weeks, and all must be permanently closed by January 8.

Spurrier said she would “feel sad” when the last PCR location closed

“I love these drive-through sites,” she said.

“But in another way, it’s a celebration that we’ve reached this stage in the pandemic where we don’t need the pandemic response.”

Overall, the nation has reported tens of thousands of new cases today across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: A COVID-19 testing clinic sign at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on January 21, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.  NSW has recorded 46 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, marking the deadliest day in the state since the start of the pandemic.  NSW also recorded 25,168 new coronavirus infections in the last 24-hour reporting period.  (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

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