NSW has finally made the move to allow rapid antigen test, or RAT, results to be recorded on the Service NSW app.
The move comes as the changes were announced last week, with the NSW government finally having made the switch today.
On Wednesday, the state recorded 34,000 cases from 134,411 PCR tests, meaning that a quarter of those tested had COVID. While these numbers are high, NSW Chief Health Officer has been warning that they’re not giving the full picture of the spread as many people have given up on taking PCR tests due to the high queuing times and the delays in getting results back.
RATs are now the fashionable test of the moment, hampered only by the fact that they are sold out everywhere, with stock not expected to arrive in quantities needed to alleviate the RAT drought for several weeks.
Of course, until now, RAT tests have not made up the official case numbers, leaving NSW residents in the dark about just how much of the virus is going around. From 9am this morning, the Service NSW app added the function to record a RAT result and is expected to post far higher numbers tomorrow as a consequence.
When this function was added in Victoria over the weekend, cases more than doubled from the previous day.
So, how does the new system work? And what happens if you fail to register your results? Here’s what you need to know.
How to Record a Positive RAT Test in NSW
Thankfully, recording your results is a fairly straightforward process, although it’s a bit time-consuming.
You simply log into the Service NSW app, the same one you’ve been using to check into venues, and scroll down to ‘COVID-19 Resources’. Hit that and then scroll down the page until you see ‘Register a positive test result.’
Clicking that will then take you out of the app and to the Service NSW website where you’ll have to log in with your MyServiceNSW account. If you don’t have an account, you can also continue as a guest, although there will be more information to input through this path.
From here you simply add the required information, fill out a quick survey on your symptoms, health conditions, and experiences of the illness, and hit ‘submit.’
Those who don’t have a smartphone can find the registration here on the Service NSW website while those who don’t use or can’t use a computer are required to call Service NSW on 13 77 88.
Once you submit your results, you’ll get a notification that you’ve tested positive and receive information on isolation requirements.
There were almost 3,000 positive RAT results registered with NSW Health in the first two hours of service on the app.
What Happens If You Don’t Submit Your Positive RAT Results
Announcing the changes this morning, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said that reporting would be mandatory and that those who don’t report could be subject to a $1000 fine.
“If someone fails to register a positive rapid antigen test, there will be a $1000 fine and there will be a grace period,” he said. “I spoke to the Police Commissioner this morning, Karen Webb, and enforcement of this fine will come in one week’s time, from the 19th of January.”
There are of course numerous issues with this, not least of all the fact that the service is currently only available in English.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Yvette D’Ath said what we were all thinking this morning in her state’s press conference after the NSW announcement.
“I think the question for NSW is; how are they going to monitor that?” she asked. “How are you going to know that someone’s got a positive test in a home kit at home and haven’t reported it?
“Are you going to start asking people in the household to start dobbing them in? I just don’t know how they’re going to monitor it, and is that the best use of resources right now?”
Queensland has said that it won’t be joining NSW in making RAT results mandatory to report however South Australia has said that they will be.