To access COVID-19 testing, call 0800 VIRUS 19. For up-to-date information on COVID-19: Click Here

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) available across the district, most collection sites in the country

Saturday 12 March 2022

 Southerners have more options for accessing rapid antigen tests than anywhere else in the country, with collection sites throughout the district.  We have current collection sites listed the WellSouth web site

From Stewart Island to Oamaru, there are 50 locations across Southland and Otago where residents can pick up pre-requested RAT tests.

“To no one’s surprise, pharmacies, general practices and other agencies in Southern are going out of their way to do their part helping people access Covid RAT tests. We are very grateful they have taken on this extra responsibility to help their communities and whānau,” says WellSouth Director of Nursing, Wendy Findlay. “We also appreciate that so many people in the community are getting tested when they have symptoms.”

Andrew Swanson-Dobbs, WellSouth CEO says creating the network of collection sites and supporting the distribution of the RAT testing kits has been in the works for months: “This has been a big piece of work that’s been going on in the background while our testing teams have also been supporting and delivering PCR testing in the community. Having testing as accessible as possible is important for helping detect the virus and reduce its spread. Health providers in the region will continue to do all we can to help in the Omicron response.”

About Rapid Antigen Testing

At Phase 3 of the Omicron response, rapid antigen tests are the primary method of testing for the virus in the community.

Anyone who has Covid symptoms, and the household contacts of a Covid positive case, can order rapid antigen testing (RATs) through the Ministry of Health’s RAT requester website or by ringing 0800 222 478 (option 3).
An order number is provided for the collection of the RAT. Enough RATs will be provided for the individual ordering and their household to take three tests.  Collection sites are available on HealthPoint.

Please be certain to check the collections times at the collection site.

When should you request rapid antigen testing?

  • If you are unwell - even with minor symptoms, a runny nose or slightly sore throat, get a COVID test. Even if it is negative, stay home until you are symptom-free.
  • If a household member tests positive for Covid, isolate at home and get tested (Day 3 and Day 7 if you’re asymptomatic, and immediately if you develop symptoms).

PCR swabbing and supervised RAT testing is available through Community Based testing Centres and many general practices for healthcare workers, for individuals who cannot self-administer or register their own RAT tests and when public health or a hospital doctor has asked for PCR test -  for pre-admission, for example.

A PCR test is not required to confirm a positive RAT case. A positive RAT test is a positive Covid case.

For information on accessing testing in Southern see the WellSouth web site: or call 0800 VIRUS19 (0800 847 8719).

Anyone who does not meet testing criteria (symptomatic or a household contact of a Covid positive case) can purchase tests at some pharmacies and some retail outlets if, for example, they want to take a test before visiting a relative. 

Report your RAT

It is important to register both negative and positive RAT results through My Covid Record or call 0800 222 478 and press option 3.  This helps monitor the size of Omicron’s spread and it is important to register your positive RAT result to ensure you have access to the appropriate care and support when you need it.  

RAT Collection Sites as of 11 March.  Please check HealthPoint for the most up-to-date lists of locations and for Collection Hours


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