- New testing criteria to cater for people in high-risk settings and geographically localised areas
- Emphasis on protecting vulnerable populations such as aged care and remote communities
- Expansion of criteria to assist in tracking individual cases and community transmission
As of today, the testing criteria for COVID-19 will now be accessible for vulnerable groups of people in high-risk settings and will prioritise the testing of healthcare staff on the frontline.
Testing in Western Australia will now be extended to the following groups:
- High-risk settings, as determined by a Public Health Unit;
- Aged and residential care;
- Rural and remote Aboriginal communities;
- Detention centres;
- Correctional facilities;
- Boarding schools;
- Military barracks or equivalent;
- Geographically localised areas with increased risk of community transmission, as determined by a Public Health Unit;
- All cruise ship passengers, domestic and international, who have disembarked in the previous 14 days;
- Hospitalised patients with illness of unknown cause, at discretion of the clinician; and
- WA Police officers who are symptomatic.
In addition to the expanded testing criteria, all health care staff will now be prioritised when being tested at COVID clinics across the State. This includes, but is not limited to, all clinical staff who have direct patient contact, such as hospital staff, general practitioners and clinic staff. Disability support workers, residential aged care workers and pharmacists are also eligible for this testing.
It is part of a co-ordinated effort to protect the health and safety of our dedicated frontline staff and patients. Processes have been put in place to easily identify and prioritise healthcare worker specimens at all of the clinics currently operating in WA.
There are now seven COVID clinics open across the metropolitan area and one regional clinic operating at Bunbury Health Campus. COVID-19 testing at clinics in WA is available to people with a fever or acute respiratory infection with proven international travel 14 days before the onset of illness or proven close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
People seeking testing in regional areas should go to a public hospital, health service or remote health clinic.
WA has now had 255 cases of COVID-19, almost 12,000 people have tested negative to the virus.
Members of the public can telephone the COVID-19 Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice and find more information by visiting http://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"The current testing regime in Western Australia reflects the latest advice on how best to respond to the increasing cases of COVID-19 and aligns with the national regime.
"We are doing everything we can to ensure that testing is available to some of the more high-risk populations in Western Australian. Our absolute priority is ensuring that these people can receive the care that they need.
"We also want to ensure our frontline healthcare staff are being looked after, which is why we have put processes in place make their tests a priority."
Minister's office - 6552 6500