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COVID-19 self-testing kits still at zero supply

Demand for Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) continues this week as the expected arrival of more deliveries on Monday was pushed back by another week.

Rodneys TerryWhite Chemmart Compounding Pharmacy at Gymea was hoping to receive more tests on January 10 but were told to sit tight because of further delays.

Pharmacist Thomas Lyons said they were left in the dark.

"We were out of stock already. They would come in dribs and drabs, and now the date keeps changing," he said.

"We have no idea when we will get more. As of now they're saying next week. I only have a spare one or two kept aside for staff.

"A lot of people are bombarding us with phone calls. It takes away from our other jobs because it's happening every minute or two. It becomes frustrating because you know what the call is going to be about."

But he said customers were generally understanding.

"There's not too much frustration from people," he said. "A lot was happening before Christmas so they are more accepting now."

Mr Lyons said as soon as the pharmacy received kits, they sold out fast.

"A hundred would last a day," he said. "They go out the door straight away.

"It's a shame because we want to provide them."

Queues for PCR tests have also dropped. At Sutherland's Histopath Pathology drive-through clinic at Waratah Park Reserve, the line was significantly shorter on Monday morning, with only about 12 cars waiting.

On January 9 the NSW Government stated that the first batch of 100 million RATs would be distributed to NSW essential public workers and vulnerable communities from this week to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

These people include Aboriginal communities, people receiving aged care services in the home, people with a disability in supported independent living accommodation, refugees, social housing tenants, rough sleepers and women's refuges, vulnerable families and children and young people in residential and out-of-home care.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the government would receive 50 million tests from mid-January to February, with a further 50 million tests being sourced for delivery from February and into March.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the boost to NSW's RAT supply will help alleviate the pressure on the NSW Health system - as well as provide protection for our most vulnerable.

"Most people should now use a RAT to confirm if they are positive for COVID-19. This allows PCRs to be used when medically required for clinical care, as well as drastically reducing the queues for PCR testing," Mr Hazzard said.

"While this is an important step in our management of COVID-19, I urgently remind everyone that vaccination and boosters are the best way to keep hospitalisations down and loved ones safe."

WHO SHOULD GET A RAPID ANTIGEN TEST?

  • People with symptoms
  • Household, social, workplace or education contact of a positive case
  • Pre-event testing, before visiting vulnerable family members
  • A worker, resident, patient, or client in a high-risk setting where there is a current confirmed outbreak
  • Before going into hospital for a procedure if this is requested by the hospital.
  • International arrivals (passengers and flight crew entering NSW from overseas)