Victoria begins mass distribution of RAT

Victoria’s health and emergency workers, community groups and people with pre-existing health conditions will start receiving their share of millions of free rapid antigen tests on Monday.

The state received a “large” first batch of RATs on Sunday following its order of 44 million test kits earlier this month.

Premier Daniel Andrews said $3 million will be distributed to essential workers in the health and aged care, disability and emergency sectors.

“Three million is a very important start, we are working very hard to ensure that each of the orders that make up the 44 million are fulfilled,” he said on Sunday.

“It will be three million tests that do not need to be purchased elsewhere, which alleviates some pressure.

Victorians with pre-existing conditions, which make them vulnerable to serious illness, will also be prioritized for a RAT to ensure they are diagnosed so that care can be provided quickly.

Sixty community and multi-faith organizations will also receive a share of the tests.

The state will also begin transferring the first of 300 patients to two new “medi-hotels” to free up hospital beds on Monday.

Two Melbourne quarantine hotels – Pullman in Swanston and Mantra in Epping – have been turned into medical facilities to treat patients battling COVID-19.

The state government hopes the medi-hotels will reduce pressure on hospitals as hospitalizations continue to rise.

A record 1,114 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday, 60 more than the day before. The number of people in intensive care with the virus rose by seven to 122, including 35 on ventilators.

Victoria recorded 28,128 COVID-19 infections and 13 deaths on Sunday.

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