Rapid Screening in the Workplace

50% of COVID-19 transmission is by people who have NO symptoms.

Stop the spread and keep your workers safe with frequent rapid screening.

 

What is rapid screening?

Rapid screens are a tool that can be used in the fight against COVID-19 in addition to social distancing, mask wearing, regular hand hygiene, and keeping a tight social bubble. They are a fast way of recognizing a case of COVID-19 so that the case can be contained before it spreads in the workplace and community.

Rapid screening is intended for asymptomatic use only. Individuals who are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days are NOT ELIGIBLE for rapid screening and should be tested through public testing channels.


What you need to know

  • We recommended that each close-contact employee be screened 2-3 times per week
  • If someone screens positive – the employee needs to leave work immediately, isolate and get a PCR test. All preliminary positives should be reported to your local public health immediately.
  • When the individual goes to get a PCR test, they should report that they have the INV number WORK-CH-KIT.
  • A negative screen is not definitive – rapid tests are not as sensitive as a PCR test. Participants who screen negative must continue with other COVID safety protocols including social distancing, mask wearing, and appropriate hand hygiene.
  • The training video below outlines the process for collecting a sample via nasal swab to administer the rapid test.

 

 

Two models for workplace rapid screening

Decentralized model: Participants are provided with individually packaged kits they can use to administer their own rapid screens

  1. Assemble individual screening kits. Each test should include:
    1. One individually wrapped test device
    2. Extraction tube (blue and white caps) containing the buffer solution fluid
    3. Sterilized nasal swab for sample collection
    4. Instructions for use (you can download ours here)

  2. Provide screening kits to employees along with instructions on how to administer the screen.

  3. Participants swab and screen themselves twice weekly, following the instructions provided

  4. Participants report results back to employer
    1. If negative, participants should continue social distancing, mask wearing, and other protection measures
    2. If positive, the participant should self-isolate, get a PCR test within 24 hours, and tell close contacts to do the same

  5. On a weekly basis, employers must report the number of tests administered, number of positives, and number of negative results at https://tests.staysafescreen.ca/pages/report-on-workplace-testing


Centralized model:
 Organization sets up a rapid screening facility on site to screen participants. Trained individuals administer the rapid screens and report results to participants (note: participants may self-swab).

  1. Read the StaySafe at Work guide for rapid workplace screening (available at communitech.ca/staysafe)

  2. Identify individuals who can help administer the program - these may be a health & safety team, or trained volunteers from your organization

  3. Set up site for rapid screening

  4. Participants register, self-swab, and provide their sample to a trained volunteer

  5. Trained volunteer administers the rapid screen and notifies participant of the results
    1. If negative, participants should continue social distancing, mask wearing, and other protection measures
    2. If positive, the participant should self-isolate, get a PCR test within 24 hours, and tell close contacts to do the same.

  6. On a daily basis, notify your local Public Health unit of any positive screens.

  7. On a weekly basis, you must report the number of tests administered, number of positives, and number of negative results at https://tests.staysafescreen.ca/pages/report-on-workplace-testing

Benefits of setting up rapid workplace screening

The use of rapid antigen tests as a screening tool for workplaces is one of the most rapid ways that businesses, their customers and communities can stay safe, slow the spread and ensure a swift economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like all other screening tools at our disposal throughout the “new normal” – masks, sanitizer, social distancing, temperature checks – rapid testing is not a foolproof method to stop the spread of coronavirus. We know there is no silver bullet solution to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, but each of these screening tools is part of a comprehensive strategy that, when used together, will keep us safe and keep the economy going.

By implementing free, self-administered antigen testing into daily life, we can prevent community spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, at home and in the community.

By screening your employees regularly, you can:

  • Identify cases of COVID-19 early to reduce the likelihood of them spreading in the workplace.
  • Allow employees to follow up with close contacts of cases so that they can self-isolate, monitor for symptoms and get tested.
  • Provide your business and workers with peace of mind.
  • Do your part to keep your workplace safe.

Workplace screening has been piloted in some provinces and territories. As part of a consortium, several organizations have put in place workplace screening initiatives and have identified best practices. If you need guidance on setting up a workplace screening program please review Communitech’s StaySafe at Work guide.

You will need to ensure your program complies with Ontario regulations. Specific guidance on rapid antigen testing can be found at:


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