COVID in WA: Nearly 6000 cases recorded as MP criticizes ‘defective’ government-purchased lollipop RATs

WA’s number of COVID infections rose again a day after an MP questioned whether the McGowan government’s reliance on “faulty” RATs needed to be reviewed.

Wednesday saw 5,770 new cases, nearly 1,000 above the state’s seven-day rolling average of 4,894.

It brings the number of active infections in WA to 28,770.

There were two new deaths, men in their 80s and 90s, and an increase in the number of people in intensive care.

WA Health said there were 259 people in hospital with the virus and nine in the ICU.

Of the new cases, 3,564 were from RATs and 2,206 were from PCR tests.

There were 7,823 PCR tests at clinics on Tuesday.

WA has now recorded 866,453 infections since the pandemic began.

The new figures come as Nationals MP Martin Aldridge poked holes in the legitimacy of lollipop RATs in Parliament on Tuesday during an estimates hearing with the Department of Health.

Aldridge, who appeared virtually due to being in isolation, said he had had his children take daily saliva tests but claimed they did not show any infection.

“Even though I know they are positive through PCR or nasal swab, I cannot return a positive result from any member of my household on these saliva tests,” Aldridge said.

He went on to ask the Director of Health, Andy Robertson, who was one of many leading figures in the Department of Health in Parliament, whether he had reconsidered the “validity” of using saliva tests as part of the diagnostic response to COVID.

Dr. Robertson said authorities continued to test the “accuracy and sensitivity” of the RATs.

“All RATs that are registered by TGA have to meet a certain standard, to be sold they have to have at least 80 percent sensitivity,” he said.

“Beyond that, they will vary in their sensitivity. Saliva tests have utility with young children, so they do have some benefits, but we’ve seen that if they’re not done correctly, the sensitivity is reduced.”

Full Case Breakdown:

Regional Active Cases (new as of 6 p.m. Tuesday night)

  • Metropolitan 23,345 (4,671)

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