More Rapid Antigen Test collection points are being established in some of our biggest cities to meet continued demand with the hope that nearly all citizens can access a RAT within a 20-minute drive.
On Saturday, 34,000 RAT orders were placed through the RAT requester site. Another 3.5 million RATs were sent out to collection sites around the country on Sunday. A total of a further eight million RATs arrived in the country over the weekend.
“The Ministry is working with DHBs so that 90 per cent of the population will be able to collect their pre-ordered RAT within a 20-minute driving distance if they’re symptomatic or in a household with someone with symptoms,’ says deputy chief executive Covid-19 Health System Response Bridget White.
“To meet this goal, there are already 300 collection points across the country and more are planned for this week.”
On top of the collection sites, the MOH says some DHBs are delivering RATs to parts of the community who are unable to easily get to a collection site while others are distributing through community providers.
“Last Thursday saw the biggest day for demand for RATs across the country with more than 1.5 million tests given out in 24 hours,” says Bridget.
“Since then demand has been levelling out. For example, Friday’s volume was less than half of the previous day.
“But as we see the high case numbers continue, further drive-through only services and delivery options are also being considered.”
The MOH says supply is not an issue.
“We urge people to be patient and make sure they both need a test and are going to the right places to get one,” says Bridget.
“Separate to those new stocks arriving at the weekend, the Ministry has 9.3 million RATs in stock. Over 10 million RATs were distributed throughout New Zealand last week.
“We ask New Zealanders to be patient with staff at testing centres. They are working as hard as they can. Abusive or aggressive behaviour does not help anyone and may force centres to close due to health and safety reasons.”