A detection force will go door to door in this weekend and conduct random testing amid fears is lurking undetected in the community.
About 875 people are expected be tested over the next two weekends as part of a collaboration between the Telethon Kids Institute and Curtin University.
Belmont, Bassendean, Claremont and Melville are among the suburbs health workers will visit as part of the testing blitz, the Western Australian government confirmed.
The process will take about 30 minutes and involve taking saliva samples from voluntary participants and processing them using a new technology called LAMP.
The technology – which stands for Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification – can process test samples in bulk but has not yet been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
LAMP tests can be used for ‘screening purposes’ only and those who test positive will need to get an official PCR test to confirm their result.
WA is just a few days away from its Omicron peak, Premier Mark McGowan said – as he launched a random testing blitz over the next four weekends
The announcement of the new testing plan, which is designed to pick up the level of undetected Covid in the community, drew a mixed reaction from the state’s residents, some of whom said they wouldn’t even open their door to the testing teams.
‘Not coming on my property,’ one wrote on social media.
‘Not interested – it’s invading our privacy,’ another said, while one WA resident questioned whether health workers had the authority to go knocking door to door.
‘If I’m not showing symptoms I’m not doing a test,’ one said.
The program is entirely voluntary.
WAis likely just a few days away from its Omicron peak, Premier Mark McGowan says, with the state recording 7,151 new cases and one death on Thursday.
The latest Covid-19 related fatality is that of a woman in her 80s, bringing the toll during the state’s Omicron outbreak to six deaths.
There are 140 people in hospital with the virus, including four in intensive care.
‘We expect that we’re a few days away from our caseload peak.Our hospitalisation peak will come after that,’ Mr McGowan said.
‘But I think what this shows, certainly the low hospitalisation rate and the low rate of ICU (cases), is that our preparedness and our high first, second and third dose vaccination rates have paid huge dividends.”
Another woman in her 80s whose death was announced on Wednesday had been an aged care resident who was already receiving palliative care, Mr McGowan said.
A decision on easing level two restrictions, including capacity limits at private homes and public venues, will be made in the coming weeks.
An army of Covid researchers will go door to door in Perth over the next two weekends amid fears the Omicron strain is lurking undetected in the community (file image of police enforcing restrictions)
Pictured: A masked woman in Perth’s . About 1,600 people are expected be tested over the next two weekends
‘I’m very keen for level two to be reduced back to level one but we’ll just see how we’re tracking towards the end of this month,’ the premier said.
The hardline state leader opened his state’s border to domestic and international travel on March 3 after shutting it for two years to keep out the virus.
He had previously cancelling a planned reopening date on February 5 until WA’s own outbreak rendered the issue moot.
But Mr McGowan warned he could again slam the border shut if another Covid strain emerges.