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Vulnerable Patients

RAT surveillance testing vulnerable patients

05 Jan 2022


In light of current levels of community transmission and to ensure a consistent and clinically appropriate approach to surveillance testing of vulnerable patients, including pregnant women, chemotherapy and renal dialysis patients, the following guidance is to be applied across all NSW Health settings.


For asymptomatic pregnant women and participants in care:

  • Birthing Unit presentations: a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or rapid PCR test should be performed on arrival;
  • Antenatal and postnatal wards: (only direct admissions, does not include those admitted through Birth Unit) – test all admissions with RAT or rapid PCR and retest days 3-5;
  • Elective caesarean section: PCR testing the day prior to admission if results are reliably available within 24 hours or rapid PCR test or RAT on day of admission;
  • Emergency caesarean section: as per Birthing Unit presentation or antenatal ward admission.

Pregnant women presenting to Emergency Department (ED) are to follow the ED presentation guidance.


Chemotherapy, Renal Dialysis patients and participants in care (parents) for babies in Nurseries are to undertake RAT testing 2-3 times a week.


For symptomatic patients PCR testing always applies. PCR testing is also used for those who have been identified as a household contact.