TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Starting Thursday (May 26), rapid antigen tests can be used by all Taiwan residents in place of PCR tests to confirm COVID-19 infections, enabling them to be evaluated for COVID medications.
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said all members of the public will be able to use a rapid antigen test instead of a PCR test to confirm that they have COVID, effective Thursday. Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC's medical response division, said if the public and medical institutions cooperate with each other on this, the COVID diagnosis process can be greatly accelerated.
Lo then re-emphasized the relevant procedures to report a positive test result for a rapid antigen test kit. Lo said the public can have their test results verified via a telemedicine consultation through the EUCARE and the NHI app, or by going in-person to a testing site, clinic, or hospital.
If an individual wishes to consult with a physician via telemedicine, they must take a photo of the test cassette and National Health Insurance card to ensure the diagnosis process goes smoothly. It is recommended the person being evaluated writes their name and the date the test was taken on a note with the test cassette.
In the event a person wishes to have their test evaluated at a hospital in person, they must be sure to bring the cassette with them, placed in a Ziploc or plastic bag. They must wear a mask at all times and cannot take public transportation. Instead, they can drive, go by bike, walk, or be transported by family or friends.
Once at the hospital, Lo reminded the public to follow the facility's protocols and procedures. When arriving at the hospital, people should proactively inform staff about the results of the rapid antigen test and avoid talking with others.
In addition to staying hydrated, Lo said people who receive a positive result on the rapid tests should avoid dining out, activities not tied to medical treatment, and entering food courts.
During the consultation, if the physician confirms the positive test result, they will report the person as a confirmed COVID case to the CECC, if both the doctor and subject concur on the diagnosis. However, if the doctor and individual disagree on the result of the rapid test, either another rapid test can be administered or arrangements for a PCR test can be made.
After a COVID diagnosis has been confirmed, the person can be evaluated for medication, including oral antiviral drugs. However, prescriptions are currently limited to the elderly and those with severe risk factors, with physicians deciding the appropriate medication for each patient.