WA expands criteria for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing

Photo: Shutterstock.
Photo: Shutterstock.

The WA government has significantly expanded the number of staff eligible to participate in the asymptomatic COVID-19 testing program in an effort to provide greater insight into any undiagnosed community cases.

The announcement comes after a successful start to the two-week DETECT Snapshot program.

From Wednesday, June 3 until Wednesday, June 10, workers over the age of 18 from the following industries will be able to undergo a swab test for the virus:

  • School staff involved in any function in a school setting (pre-kindergarten-year 12), including Department of Education employees
  • Tourism sector staff of accredited tourism businesses
  • Transport workers such as truck, bus and train drivers, maritime workers, security and customer service staff working in public transport, and aviation workers
  • Healthcare workers including Western Australian Health staff, employees in private hospitals, residential aged care facilities, general practices, pharmacies, the disability sector, or any worker employed by an organisation delivering health services
  • WA Police staff
  • Meat workers employed in an abattoir, meat packing or in further processing such as small goods manufacture
  • Retail workers such as employees in supermarkets, department stores and specialty stores
  • Hospitality workers such as employees in cafes, restaurants, pubs or hotels

Almost 3000 test results have all returned negative for COVID-19 since the start of the DETECT program last week.

More than three-quarters of participants were healthcare workers (76 per cent), followed by retail workers (14 per cent).

Health Minister Roger Cook encouraged newly eligible adults to participate before the clinics close next week.

"To have about 3,000 people participate to date in the DETECT Snapshot program is outstanding and it is extremely pleasing that we have detected no cases of COVID-19.

"From today, more clinics have opened so that there are a range of convenient testing options available and some private operators are in a position to offer larger employers testing in their workplaces."

Participation is voluntary and testing is available at more than 100 public and private clinics and drive-through facilities across WA, including in Mnadurah, Bunbury and Busselton.

People who fit the new criteria can resume normal activities immediately and will be informed of a negative result via SMS.

Anyone who tests positive will be followed up in line with existing Public Health procedures, including isolation and identification of any contacts for follow-up and quarantine.

Testing for the remainder of the population still requires COVID-19 symptoms to be present.

Anyone with fever, history of fever, or respiratory symptoms including shortness of breath, cough or a sore throat, should be tested at a designated COVID-19 clinic.