Wednesday, 19 January, 2022
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has called on NSW Health to urgently increase the supplies of Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits for rural users.
The MP claims that the current rules in place for those people who are identified as a ‘close contact’ of someone with Covid-19, have created a virtual endless lockdown with no readily available way to secure a RAT to clear self-isolation.
He is calling on NSW Health and the Federal Government, to step up and ensure that regional and remote communities have immediate access to an adequate RAT supply so that the rules can be followed.
“This is a frustrating situation with responsible community members who have been a close or household contact, being forced to continue isolation until a Rapid Antigen Test can be sourced.” The MP said.
“It’s simple – until those people identified as a close contact confirm a negative result to a RAT on day one and then on day six, then self-isolation must continue until that is done.
“On the other hand, if they return a positive test, then self-isolation for seven days is a must, but those infected can then leave once symptom-free for 24 hours.
“Our communities need immediate access to RATs and the Federal Government needs to step up and make those kits easily available at a capped price, or free.”
Mr Marshall said the advice from NSW to those close contacts leaves them stuck in a RAT limbo of farcical proportions.
“I know of a constituent living on a property in the Guyra area, who became a close contact early in January, and has since embarked on what has become the great RAT hunt of 2022,” the MP said.
“His family were able to source a limited number of RATs at an inflated cost, but the supply didn’t stretch to the whole family.
“When asked for the nearest supply, NSW Health advised the family to take a seven hour round trip to Coolah where testing kits were then available.
“It’s ridiculous and I’ll be pushing for NSW Health to review the supply and really start giving a RATs for our communities.”