Praise be, someone has made a website to find RATs across Australia

Praise be, someone has made a website to find RATs across Australia

'Helping you find those sneaky Rapid Antigen Tests'.

With the rising case numbers and the highly infectious Omicron variant sweeping the nation, you’re probably well aware of the huge waiting times and long queues of people hoping for a COVID-19 test – a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test.

While people with even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged to go get a PCR, we now have access to rapid antigen tests (RATs). They’re quick, convenient and can sometimes detect COVID-19 even before you develop symptoms. You can do the test yourself at home or anywhere you feel comfortable. (However, they’re not as accurate as PCR tests). The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved several rapid antigen self-tests for use in Australia.

Both types of test are designed to detect COVID-19 in your body, and involve a swab sample taken from your throat or nose, on nasal secretions, or sometimes on saliva.

For those who just want peace of mind, need to prove negative results for work purposes or feel a little sick but aren’t sure, RATs are proving perfect for helping us get on with life. However, getting your hands on a rapid antigen test this past week has become an extreme sport, with reports stating that the next two weeks is likely to remain “bumpy” across Australia as supply chain issues cause shortages and price spikes.

Distributing the tests is something “still being worked out with the government” but currently (if you’re lucky) you can find them at pharmacies, supermarkets and even service stations. You just have to be prepared to get up early, join lengthy lines or hit up multiple stores. Also, be wary of price gouging. On NYE I found tests in a little grocer for $60 a pop – and that was just one test.

To ease your troubles and perhaps reduce the number of Facebook posts asking, some legend has made a website dedicated to listing stores that are stocking RATs.

With a live interactive map, the website is pretty straightforward and seemingly updated by the minute, relying on user submissions (so obviously don’t take this as 100% accurate but handy nonetheless). Pay attention to the timing of availability status if you do use the site. With RATs demand right now, they are likely to go FAST.

Check it out here and may the odds be ever in your favour.

Remember, if you get a positive result from a rapid antigen test — or a negative result, but still have symptoms — get a PCR test immediately and self-isolate until you receive the result.

For more info on RATs, head here