Using a RAT
Testing for COVID-19 is recommended for people with symptoms, no matter how mild.
RATs are available for purchase at supermarkets add pharmacies.
Concession card holders can access a capped supply of free RATs at Service Tasmania outlets.
If you live in a rural or regional area and/or are unable to leave home (such as people with a disability) please contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to discuss options for accessing RATs.
Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are quick, convenient and can detect COVID-19 even before you develop symptoms.
They are simple to use, and you can do the test yourself at home or anywhere you feel comfortable.
RATs are easy to use and can provide a result within 10 to 20 minutes.
RAT collection at Service Tasmania
Concession card holders can access a limited supply of RATs through Service Tasmania centres.
Eligible card holders:
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
- Health Care Card
- Low Income Health Care Card
- Pensioner Concession Card
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold, White or Orange card
- Tasmanian Seniors Card
You will need to show:
- your physical card; or
- your digital card in the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app
- 10 RATs over a 3-month period
- Maximum of 5 per month
Taking a rapid antigen test
Rapid antigen testing involves a nasal or throat swab (using a small cotton bud) which is then placed into a chemical solution.
There are different rapid antigen tests available, so it is very important that you closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Steps to get an accurate result using a RAT
- Check the expiry date – make sure it is valid.
- Read instructions carefully and plan ahead.
- If you use a nasal swab – blow your nose before swabbing. If you use a saliva test – do not eat or drink for 10 minutes before collecting the sample.
- Avoid contaminating the sample – do not touch the area where the sample is collected.
- Follow the instructions on how to collect the sample.
- Place the exact amount of solution into the indicator as advised.
- Read the results at the exact time recommended.
When you are ready to take your test, this easy to follow guide may also assist you to take the test and read the results: How to take a nasal or oral rapid antigen test.
Or watch this Department of Health Tasmania video:
Disposal of used tests
All tests are single use only.
Once you have used the test, you must dispose of it as per the manufacturer’s instructions. The RAT cassette and parts used to complete the test are not recyclable - they should be disposed of carefully.
If disposal instructions are not provided, then:
- place the test and swab into a small, sealable plastic bag.
- place the sealed test and swab bag into another plastic bag, seal the second bag, and then dispose of it with your household rubbish.
- the instructions and any outer packaging that is not used as part of the test may be recyclable. Check your council recycling guidelines.
Testing for children under 2 years of age
Children can be tested with a RAT.
This should always be done or supervised by an adult. Parents should check the manufacturer’s instructions for use in young children.
Some RATs are not recommended for use in children under 2 years of age.
View the full list of RATs approved in Australia and links to manufacturer’s instruction on the TGA website.