The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has created new challenges for Australia’s health system. Whilst symptoms of the Omicron variant appear to be milder, it spreads more easily and rapidly than previous variants.
Testing capacity in NSW is under enormous pressure with a huge spike in people being exposed to the virus. The majority of the people receiving tests do not have the need to receive medical care due to our high vaccination rate combined with the somewhat milder symptoms of Omicron. It is still essential for those with symptoms to get tested but the government has been caught out by the sheer volume of tests required.
NSW Health advises that the only people getting a PCR (nose and throat swab) should be those who have COVID-19 symptoms; live in a household with a confirmed COVID-19 case; or have been advised by NSW Health to get a test. (Source: health.nsw.gov.au)
The government is scrambling to find solutions in this very dynamic environment as Rapid Antigen Tests become more appealing as a way to handle the skyrocketing numbers of tests required. We expect to see more announcements in coming days and weeks to help free up testing clinics and the health system.
Note that this information is current at the time this article was created (3 January, 2022). Due to the dynamic nature of the COVID rollout it is advised to continue checking the NSW Health website for any updates.