All of New Zealand is at the COVID-19 orange setting. Please read the guidance.

COVID-19: implications for our practice

Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/covid-19-implications-for-our-practice/rapid-antigen-testing-rat/
Printed: 28/05/2022
Printed pages may be out of date. Please check this information is current before using it in your practice.

Last updated: 14/04/2022

Rapid antigen testing (RAT) for tamariki and rangatahi

Rapid antigen testing (RAT) for COVID-19 is generally done with a front-of-nose swab by yourself or supervised by a health professional. Results are available in about 20 minutes. RATs are widely available, alongside PCR tests.

When we use RATs

A RAT is required in the following circumstances.

For tamariki or rangatahi in the care or custody of the chief executive

  • before admission to a residence or an Oranga Tamariki community home (Family, Remand, Specialist homes)
  • following a period of engagement, such as close contact and confined space activities where other forms of PPE are unable to be used  
  • before being escorted from Police cells or from a home, residence or other location 
  • if they have absconded from custody (on a case-by-case basis) 
  • if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 in the orange traffic light setting
  • any time that COVID-19 screening questions indicate RAT testing would be useful.

For caregivers

Before the placement of a tamaiti or rangatahi when the caregiver is showing symptoms of COVID-19 in the orange traffic light setting.

Talking with parents and guardians, whānau or family

Even though consent from parents or guardians is not required for a RAT, we engage and talk with the parents and guardians of te tamaiti or rangatahi about the need for the RAT, and listen to their views and any concerns. We inform them of the test results, any required follow-up and the oranga of their tamariki or rangatahi.

Talking to tamariki, whānau or family and caregivers about the COVID-19 vaccine

Consent for medical examinations and treatment

If te tamaiti or rangatahi returns a positive RAT result

  • Te tamaiti or rangatahi is required to isolate within the residence or home wherever possible.
    • For residences, this process is described in detail in the COVID-19 Response Plan for Residences.
    • For Supervised Group Homes, this process is described in detail in the COVID-19 Response Plan for Community Homes and Supervised Group Homes.
  • Read the Healthpoint COVID-19 testing information:
    COVID-19 testing | Healthpoint
  • Follow all public health measures.
  • Follow your site, residence or group home COVID-19 Response Plan (for reporting requirements, isolation, identifying close contacts, and so on).