How to register your positive RATS test

By now, everyone has heard of Rapid Antigen self-Tests (RATs, for short), and how important it is to let your state health body know of any positive tests to COVID-19 so reporting data can be up-to-date. But how do you report RAT results?

In every state and territory in Australia, the message is the same – If you have cold or flu symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19.

However, if you develop severe symptoms such as severe shortness of breath or chest pain, call triple zero (000) immediately and tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival if you have COVID-19.

Most people who suspect they may have COVID head straight to their nearest polymerase chain reaction (PCR, or RT-PCR) testing site – whether that be a public centre/s or private collection points such as phlebotomy centre depends on where you live.

To find your nearest testing centre or fever clinic in your town or region, head to this website and search state-by-state for your closest centre or try this page.

However, as many of us know by now, RATs are also a fast, efficient way of COVID testing at home, without going out into the public and joining long queues to be tested.

They can be hard to get hold of, depending on where you live and supplies, but are proving to be an invaluable diagnostic tool for those in the disability sector, particularly those who are immune compromised or unable to leave their beds or homes.

While waiting for your PCR test results, you should follow the instructions of your doctor or the healthcare professional at the testing clinic.

In most cases, you will be instructed to go straight home and wait for your results. Don’t go out in public, including going to work or school.

Practise good hand and cough hygiene, and avoid close contact with other people, including members of your own household.

So – what do you do if you test positive with either test?

Well, if you have received a PCR test – the results will automatically be sent to you and recorded by your state’s health department so all you need to do is follow the advice below.

The RAT test will deliver your results within 15 to 30 minutes.

If you tested positive using a rapid antigen test, you may be required to register your results or confirm your result with a PCR test. Contact your state or territory’s health department for advice.

If you test positive for COVID-19, using either test, you must immediately self-isolate.

Your isolation period will usually be seven days from when you received your positive test result. However, you should check the rules for your state or territory.

Self-isolation means you must stay at your home or accommodation and remain separated from others. You can’t leave your house or accommodation, unless for medical care, an emergency or an allowed purpose for at least seven days.

If you are in isolation, you shouldn’t go out in public. You shouldn’t go to work, school, childcare or university. Don’t travel on public transport or in taxis or ride-share services.

If you’re isolating at home, there are many support options and services available to ensure you have enough food and other essential supplies. There are also several steps you can take to look after your mental health.

Only people who usually live with you should be in your home. Do not allow visitors into your home unless it is absolutely necessary or they are providing medical or personal care.

You should separate yourself from the other members of your household as much as possible. This includes staying in a separate, well-ventilated room, sleeping alone and using a separate bathroom if one is available.

If you can’t isolate in a separate room, avoid shared spaces, such as the kitchen, as much as possible. Do not share household items and wash these items thoroughly after using them.

Wear a mask when moving through shared areas. Wipe down any surfaces you touch.

People who have had contact with you, including family members and people you live with, may also need to isolate themselves.

The Australian Government has developed rules for what you need to do if you are a close contact. You should also check the rules of your state or territory.

Learn more about managing mild to moderate COVID-19 at home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, it is likely your symptoms will be mild and you can recover safely at home.

If you have no symptoms, or only mild symptoms, this information and advice will help keep you and your loved ones safe.

As well as immediate isolation, household members must also get tested and isolate. You should advise your friends, family and work contacts to monitor for symptoms.

If you have mild COVID-19 symptoms, manage your care at home, with rest and over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.

COVID affects everyone differently. Understand the difference between mild, moderate and severe symptoms.

Use the Symptom Checker to know if you should seek medical help, including when to call triple zero (000).

If you or the patient are experiencing any of the following:

  • Central or crushing chest pain lasting more than 10 minutes
  • Unconsciousness or a seizure (fit)
  • Severe difficulty breathing or turning blue
  • Severe bleeding or inability to control bleeding with pressure
  • Sudden inability to move or speak, or sudden facial drooping
  • The effects of a severe accident.

Call triple zero (000) immediately.

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