Victoria's new rapid antigen test reporting system will be able to handle more than 50,000 positive cases per day, according to health authorities.
A hotline and online reporting system have opened for Victorians who test positive to a RAT to report their "probable" case.
Mandatory reporting of positive RAT results has been implemented on Friday, as the state recorded 21,728 new cases from 68,202 tests through the PCR lab test system.
Another six people died and hospitalisations have again increased to 644 people. There are 58 active cases in intensive care and 24 on ventilation.
"We will see fewer Victorians waiting on the results of that PCR test before they can go and either receive the care and information they need or return to life as normal," Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said.
Anyone who receives a positive RAT will be classified as a "probable" case and must isolate for seven days and notify their contacts. They will receive the same clinical and financial support as PCR confirmed cases.
Testing commander Jeroen Weimar said the hotline and form will check symptoms, whether people are a contact, the support they need, their vaccination status and pre-existing conditions.
He said it would allow for care to be provided more quickly.
The system has capacity to deal with 50,000 reports a day but he confirmed that can be stepped up if necessary.
The RATs have at times proved difficult to find, but it's hoped their use will reduce pressure on the overloaded PCR testing system.
By 9am on Friday 18 state-run PCR testing sites had reached capacity and closed, compared to 35 sites at the same time on Thursday, as the RAT rules came into force overnight.
Victoria is rolling out the rapid tests at state-run testing sites. Four sites handed out RATs in a pilot program on Wednesday, and on Thursday that figure rose to 24 mainly metropolitan sites where asymptomatic people were offered the rapid test to use at home.
The 44 million tests ordered by the state are in transit, with early orders already starting to arrive, Mr Weimar said.
Bookings are also open for children five to 11 to be vaccinated, with 25,000 appointments taken up in the 24 hours after bookings opened.
Restrictions have also been reintroduced, including density limits of one person per two square metres for indoor hospitality and entertainment venues.
Australian Associated Press
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