SA to keep mandatory COVID test reporting

People who test positive for COVID-19 will still be required to report their rapid antigen test result to SA Health, despite the end of mandatory stay-at-home orders tomorrow.

Oct 13, 2022, updated Oct 13, 2022
Photo: Davide Bonaldo/Sipa USA

Photo: Davide Bonaldo/Sipa USA

Health Minister Chris Picton announced a short time ago that mandatory reporting of positive RAT results will remain a part of South Australia’s COVID-19 directions under the state’s Public Health Act.

Mandatory five-day isolation for COVID-positive people will be scrapped at 12.01am on Friday, in line with a national cabinet decision two weeks ago.

Picton said the requirement to report a positive test will remain in place “for some time” despite the end of stay-at-home orders.

“We want to keep a good assessment of what the COVID cases are in the community,” Picton told reporters.

“Secondly, it also enables SA Health to make sure that we can provide that person with information in terms of how to protect themselves, particularly get access to antiviral medication when they need it.

“As we’ve managed the BA.5 regime, we’re making sure that people who are eligible are able to get access to those drugs and we know that they can be absolutely lifesaving.

“But we need people to test, let us know, so that you can get access to them through either a GP or through the coronavirus hotline.”

Picton also announced that vaccination mandates for employees in hospitals, aged care and disability settings would remain in place temporarily in a bid to give employers more time to draft their own policies and procedures.

“These will move to be a workplace health and safety management for employers to manage themselves,” Picton said.

“However, the feedback has been from particular sectors that they would like some time to put in place those policies and procedures at their workplace level.

“So they will stay in operation for a number of weeks here in South Australia.”

Stay-at-home orders will still apply to workers in vulnerable settings, such as hospitals and aged care, in line with national cabinet’s decision two weeks ago.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said South Australia was moving to a stage of the pandemic where “we’re putting more responsibility back on the individuals but also businesses and really the whole of the community”.

She said testing for the virus was still “really important”.

“So we will require still to have that mandatory reporting of rapid antigen testing, and I absolutely encourage anybody with symptoms to get tested.

“Initially, it’s absolutely fine to have a rapid antigen test but we will continue to still have PCR testing available, because it’s totally critical that anybody eligible for antiviral treatment, those who are more vulnerable, older people and people with chronic health problems, so that they can access some antiviral treatment.”

Health Minister Chris Picton addressing the media alongside chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier today. Photo: Jason Katsaras/InDaily

Spurrier said SA Health would “strongly recommend” people who test positive for COVID-19 to wear a mask if they leave their home, despite the national cabinet changes meaning there is no legal requirement to do so.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“If you test positive for COVID, it’s not the time to decide to go out to a nightclub or the theatre or a cinema,” she said.

“We’re strongly advising those people to stay at home, particularly for that period of time when they’ve got the acute symptoms.

“But there’s not going to be a legal requirement.”

It comes after modelling released earlier this week showed South Australia’s next wave of COVID-19 is set to come just before Christmas, with COVID hospital ward occupancy tipped to peak at around 200 people on December 20

University of Adelaide Professor Joshua Ross told a parliamentary committee on Monday that around six to eight thousand daily COVID-19 infections are expected by December 6, according to the latest modelling he has presented to the state government.

Spurrier said the modelling took into account national cabinet’s decision to scrap isolation requirements from October 14.

“COVID’s not going to go away, it’s in our community, so if you have that waning of immunity over time in a population then infections diseases you’ll see another wave,” she said.

Picton said the modelling was “very clear” that there is going to be a future wave “but not at the sort of peak we’ve seen in the last wave that we saw”.

“We are always on the lookout for a new variant in South Australia, SA Pathology will continue to do genomic sequencing of cases.

“We haven’t detected anything at this stage that gives us concern, but we will keep monitoring that situation.

“The message is: COVID is not going away, COVID is going to be with us for a very very long time in the future.

“We are going to have to manage continual waves of COVID to make sure that not only the community do the right thing and take the right measures, but also that we continue in terms of the vaccination program but also the availability of treatments for people.”

Booster vaccines have been administered to 75.2 per cent of the eligible population in South Australia, according to SA Health’s most recent data released on October 7.

SA Health also reports 94.5 per cent of people in South Australia over the age of 12 have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.