Western Australia’s health department is further winding its back public COVID-19 clinics on the back of declining case numbers and low demand for PCR tests.
The department announced on Tuesday opening hours at the Royal Perth Hospital, Joondalup Hospital, Rockingham Hospital and PathWest Murdoch clinics would drop to 8am-4pm from the start of September. Private clinics will need a referral from a GP for PCR tests from October 1.
Each household could pick up 20 rapid antigen tests, which WA Health said was the “preferred COVID-19 testing option” for West Australians, from drive-through collection points in the metro area.
The department reported 1277 new cases in WA on Tuesday, most of which came via self-reported RATs. Of the 4071 PCR tests conducted on Monday, just 289 came back positive.
More than 107,000 COVID cases were identified using RATs between July 1 and August 1, WA Health said, while the number identified via PCR testing was just shy of 60,000.
Chief Health Officer Dr Andy Robertson urged West Australians to continue practising good hygiene and to stay home if unwell, even if testing negative to COVID-19.
“COVID testing clinics have been an essential part of our COVID-19 response,” he said.
“We will continue to closely monitor the situation and make further adjustments that are required to keep Western Australians safe.”
The wind-back follows the closure of several public clinics in July, and comes as the states and federal government mull cutting mandatory COVID-19 isolation back to five days when national cabinet meets on Wednesday.