Test results for COVID-19 in just one hour

17 Apr 2020 media release

In another critical development of South Australia’s world class testing regime, COVID-19 diagnosis will soon be available in less than 60 minutes.

Premier Steven Marshall said that SA Pathology’s rapid testing capability will be rolled out to all metro and ten major regional hospitals in coming weeks to provide clinicians with the necessary information to make quick decisions regarding the treatment and care of patients with COVID-19.
“South Australia has led the nation with testing for COVID-19 and the addition of rapid testing will now allow us to provide results in less than 60 minutes for patients deemed clinically urgent,” said Premier Marshall.
“We know that every minute counts for patients that are clinically urgent, which is why this tool will be potentially lifesaving for South Australians.
“This comprehensive rollout of cutting-edge rapid testing technology throughout the state is another step in our strong plan to protect South Australians from this virus.”
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the preparation for rapid testing comes as South Australia begins a two-week blitz testing anyone who presents with symptoms of coronavirus.
“South Australia’s world-class testing regime has been critical in our success in bending the curve and pushing out the peak of COVID-19 and the introduction of rapid testing will take us one step further in the fight against the virus.
“Our testing regime has been among the best in the world, allowing South Australians a clearer picture of where the virus has spread and the opportunity to quickly act to contain it.”
The Marshall Government has invested $684,000 to rollout out the rapid testing instruments, with each single-test cartridge costing a further $40.
SA Pathology’s Director of Clinical Services, Dr Tom Dodd, said rapid testing was another innovative way to effectively diagnose COVID-19 patients.
“The rapid testing will allow clinicians to make early and well-informed decisions about the treatment requirements of COVID-19 patients, which can be particularly important for patients showing symptoms of the virus,” Dr Dodd said.
“Currently testing results for COVID-19 takes around 24 hours to return, so for those urgent cases, rapid testing will be extremely beneficial to ensure they can receive the most appropriate care as soon as possible.
“We know that rapid testing has been effective for diagnosing other viruses such as influenza and the introduction of this rapid testing means we can help stop the spread in the community and possibly save lives of those in the community who are more vulnerable to the virus.
“The instruments required to perform rapid testing are currently being installed across a number of sites in the state, with rapid testing expected to commence in the coming weeks once a shipment of the cartridges required to conduct the testing are received.
“We are working extremely hard to ensure that all South Australians can continue to access timely testing for COVID-19, with the rapid testing service being another innovative way for us to increase our testing capabilities.”
The ten regional hospitals which will have the capacity are:
• Southern Fleurieu (Victor Harbor)
• Gawler
• Port Augusta
• Whyalla
• Port Lincoln
• Murray Bridge
• Berri (Riverland general hospital)
• Mt Gambier
• Port Pirie
• Wallaroo