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  • Dr. Young Lee

Phase 3 - Rapid Antigen Testing available now! Who? When?

Hi guys, We’ve moved into Phase 3 of the almighty government’s COVID19 response plan. What that means is that there is so much COVID19 out there now, that we no longer do PCR tests. We now do Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) only. There is no more need to do the PCR nasopharyngeal swab where we shove the swab all the way up your nose. We now only have to shove it halfway up your nose. It also only takes 15 mins. So only 1/2 as uncomfortable and 100x faster! Who needs testing?

  • If you have cold like symptoms such as a sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, fever or aches and pains. If you test POSITIVE - stay at home for 10 days

  • If you are a HOUSEHOLD contact of a POSITIVE case test on Day 3 and Day 10. If you test POSITIVE - congratulations! - you get to stay home for an EXTRA 10 days. Please don’t come in to test on Day 0 - not enough time has passed for you to test positive yet.


Who doesn’t need to be tested?

  • Close contacts do not need to be tested unless symptomatic. ONLY household contacts need to be tested. Close contacts DO NOT need to isolate. So if your co-worker gets COVID19, you don’t need to be tested. If you get sick, then take time off and get tested.

  • Please DON’T ring us to get a test if you are a close contact and you are anxious - we will have to refuse to test you and you will get angry with us and it’s not our fault. We are trained not to yell back at you, but we will secretly yell at you in our heads and you will feel our psychic wrath.

Essential healthcare workers like doctors, nurses, receptionists are special….

  • Essential healthcare workers who are HOUSEHOLD contacts can go back to work as long as you have a negative RATs test everyday for the next 7 days after exposure. Day 0 is the day you find out your household contact is positive. Test for 7 days daily - go back to work if it’s negative

  • Essential healthcare workers who test positive - if you are better, test on Day 5 & 6. If both days are negative - go back to work. Otherwise, if asymptomatic go back to work Day 10

  • We believe essential healthcare workers will have access to their own tests, so we probably won’t be contacted by these guys for follow up tests.

I’m feeling sick, how do I get a test with the clinic?

  • Call reception and explain your symptoms. If you are only mildly sick and ONLY need testing let us know. The nurse will see you and do the test. If you are moderately sick and need the doctor (i.e. asthma, sinusitis, pneumonia maybe, quite short of breath etc) to examine you - let us know and the doctor will do the test and examine you. We will rely on your common sense and good judgement for this as we need to have a trust based system.

  • When you come to the clinic, you will be asked to wait in your car. We will then come out in PPE gear and N95 masks to administer the test. Wait 15 mins for the test. If the doctor sees you, the doctor will examine you during this time.

  • You can leave after. We have to spend 15 mins updating the information on the computer. If you have a positive test, the public healthcare service will contact you. If they believe you don’t need much follow up, they will advice you to just rest at home. If you need help, the care will be transferred to us. We are still learning the computer system to update the information so please be patient with us. We literally got the email about doing the tests at 10pm last night. So we don’t even have 1 working day to implement the system.

Damn it - I just want to test at home! That is going to be available in the near future. The government is exploring the options of:

  • Giving people tests for free. For example the testing sites giving people packs to self test

  • Being able to buy the tests. However pharmacies at this stage don’t know if it’s going to be subsidised because it’s costing them $15 a test or more. Dr. Bloomfield says that he would like the price to be $8-10 a test, but I don’t think anyone is going to sell them below cost. It’s a good way to go out of business

  • Study to be a doctor. Graduate after 6 years. They give you free tests to bring home

  • All joking aside - we will all have home tests in the near future so you can just test at home and get on with your life

What will testing be like in the future?

  • Stand down times will likely drop over time, if overseas experience is to be believed. Australia and USA have dropped stand down times to 5 days if you test positive, and as long as you have a negative test on day 5 and you are better you can go back to work or school. We currently still have a 10 day stand down period

  • RATs should be widely available either for free or be relatively inexpensive to buy. You might, for example test yourself before going out or going to a rest home.

I hope this helps. See you guys in the car park. I’m sure we’ll have some interesting chats. As an aside - watch with humour when you type RATs in your smartphone and an emoji of a rat or mouse pops out. It’s hilarious when you start messaging friends with emojis of RATs back and forth. A bit of COVID19 humour.

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