Rapid antigen testing is a screening tool to help detect COVID-19 in people without any symptoms of COVID-19.
Rapid antigen testing involves a nasal swab (using a small cotton bud) that is placed into a chemical solution. The result displays within 15 to 20 minutes.
COVID-19 tests for construction workersCOVID-19 testing requirements still apply to people from Local Government Areas of concern entering construction sites in Greater Sydney. Find a full set of construction rules and restrictions.
The NSW Government’s announcement of 20 August 2021 concerning authorised workers, does not remove the existing requirements for people from LGAs of concern entering construction sites.
If you live in or are temporarily staying in one of these affected areas, you must not enter a construction site in Greater Sydney unless you have:
- Two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or
- One dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 21 days prior or
- One dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within the past 21 days and you have been tested for COVID-19 in the past 72 hours or
- Evidence of a medical exemption and you have been tested for COVID-19 within the previous 72 hours.
The Chief Health Officer has confirmed that, where the requirement for a test applies, this test can include a rapid antigen test on a construction site in the way approved by the Chief Health Officer.
Find out more about the Rapid antigen testing indicative process - under the supervision of a health practitioner (PDF, 434.47 KB)If you do have symptoms of COVID-19, you must not attend work. You will need to get a standard PCR test from a COVID-19 testing clinic and isolate until you have received a negative result. A PCR test is also required if you are a close or casual contact of someone with COVID-19.
COVID-19 tests for authorised workers
The NSW Government’s announcement of 20 August 2021 set outs new restrictions around workplaces and authorised workers from the local government areas of concern.
There are additional requirements for authorised workers who are entering constructions sites.
If you do have symptoms of COVID-19, you must not attend work. You will need to get a standard PCR test from a COVID-19 testing clinic and isolate until you have received a negative result. A standard PCR test is also required if you are a close or casual contact of someone with COVID-19.
Who can get rapid antigen tests
Employers and industries can implement rapid antigen testing screening for their workforce and may engage a third party provider to manage this process.
NSW Health has established guidance for workplaces and schools conducting rapid antigen screening onsite. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) sets out regulations that apply to rapid antigen test kits and conditions of supply.
Benefits of rapid antigen testing
Rapid antigen tests have been used internationally and in some Australian industries for some time to screen employees for COVID-19 with no symptoms.
Rapid antigen tests can be performed easily and onsite with results available within minutes.
However, these tests have some limitations compared to the standard COVID-19 tests (PCR) used at testing clinics.
Rapid antigen tests will detect most cases of COVID-19, but are not as accurate as the standard test (PCR).
If you develop symptoms or are identified as a close or casual contact of someone who has COVID-19, you must get tested at a clinic and self-isolate.
If you get a positive test result
If you get a positive rapid antigen test result, you must
- immediately get a standard COVID-19 test (PCR) at a specified NSW testing clinic to confirm the result of your screening test
- isolate until you get a negative result from NSW Health.
If you get a negative test result
Continue to follow the latest health advice and restrictions in your area.
If you develop any symptoms, even if mild, you must immediately get a standard COVID-19 test and isolate until you get a negative result from NSW Health.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19You must get a standard COVID-19 test (PCR) at any COVID-19 testing clinic in NSW and
- isolate, including from your household members, until you receive a negative result.
The only way to rule out COVID-19 is to have a standard test (PCR), even if you have only mild symptoms.
Is personal data collected
Any testing data collected will only be used to help NSW Health make public health decisions.
None of your personal health data is used without your consent.
What rapid antigen test kits will be used
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has registered a number of devices for use under the supervision of a health practitioner. Devices that have not been approved by the TGA cannot be used in Australia. Go to the TGA website to review all point of care antigen test kits.
The TGA website publishes frequently asked questions about the supply of rapid antigen tests.
If you have any questions on test kits, please email NSW Health Pathology for advice.
NSW Health guidance for workplaces and schools
- Rapid Antigen Testing - Framework and Standard Operating Procedure (PDF, 530.41 KB)
- CareStart Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) Test Procedure and Results Interpretation (PDF, 136.06 KB)
- Information for consumers - Rapid antigen testing (DOCX, 118.71 KB)
- Information for students and parents - Rapid antigen testing (DOCX, 90.15 KB)
- Information for employees and employers - Rapid antigen testing (DOCX, 89.69 KB)
- Fact sheet for industry - Rapid antigen testing (DOCX, 88.06 KB)
- Brochure for industry - Rapid antigen testing (PDF, 53.52 KB)
- How to hand wash - poster (PDF, 4.3 MB)
- Poster - How to hand rub (PDF, 426.21 KB)
- Anterior Nasal Swab - Rapid antigen test (PDF, 98.14 KB)
- Rapid antigen testing indicative process - under the supervision of a health practitioner (PDF, 434.47 KB)
- Rapid Antigen Testing - Quality control procedure (PDF, 143 KB)