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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Abbott Rapid Panbio Antigen Screening

These screening kits are provided by the Ontario Government complimentary to small and medium-sized businesses as an additional tool to help keep workplaces in Ontario safe. Any misuse of the procedures can negatively impact the workplace. Care and attention to the proper process is essential for this tool to be effective.

The latest information from Health Canada suggests that up to 1/3 of people carrying the virus are asymptomatic, causing few or no noticeable signs; however, over 50% of known cases were transmitted by an asymptomatic carrier. This makes it incredibly important to find asymptomatic carriers in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.

A COVID-19 rapid screening test can be performed anywhere (e.g. on-site, at the place of employment) and does not require shipping a specimen to a lab for processing. It takes approximately 15 minutes to yield a result.

Frequent screening with rapid antigen tests increases the chances of early identification of cases in asymptomatic individuals. The recommended frequency is twice per employee, per week.

Ontario has also released guidance for organizations that choose to participate in COVID-19 testing that falls outside of the public health care system to ensure there is appropriate oversight and consumer protection and that public resources are supporting public health initiatives.

For additional information, and to receive news regarding these kits and their availability, please sign up for our mailing list.

Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions

Who can businesses give screening kits to and who can we screen?

These test kits are only for use by employees that frequently attend the workplace. You cannot give kits to anyone else, nor test them on-site or anywhere else. Doing so invalidates the government’s tracking and tracing programs by reporting false information as the sites of cases and outbreaks. Employees have the right to refuse to participate in the test, but when they comply, they are deemed to have also given consent to collection and reporting of the data.

What is the accuracy of these screens?

These test kits are accurate when used correctly. However, incorrect usage can result in a high rate of false results. For this reason, only persons who have viewed and understood the usage guides should use these kits. Additionally, anyone showing symptoms should report for a laboratory PCR test via the health authorities.

How do we dispose of the waste?

The test cartridge and vial (with the swab and buffering agent) are considered hazardous waste. If you have the facilities to dispose of biohazardous material, please do so; otherwise, you may return used kits when picking up your next batch for safe disposal.

How is the screening administered – through the nostril or mouth?

Rapid Antigen Screening uses a nasal swab. The swab must be inserted 2.5cm (1 inch) into each nostril for 5 to 7 seconds and rotated to ensure collection of a useful specimen. Please review this video for detailed instructions.

What is the reporting responsibility our business has with respect to the results of the screens?

In order to participate, you have signed a document that makes you responsible to report all results of your screens. The total number of screens whether positive, negative, or inconclusive must be entered in the reporting form available online at https://gncc.ca/workplace-self-screening-report-form/.

Additional Questions

How many staff can go to pick up and train for the screening kits and masks?

To keep our staff and volunteers safe, we are limiting in-person visits to the facility. Send ONLY one person to pick up kits or masks.

Can I just drop in and pick up kits and masks for refills of my order?

We MUST insist on awaiting a confirmed pick-up time. It is important to control the number of people on-site to reduce the opportunity of close contact. Please wait until you receive your time/day confirmation. Arrivals for pick-up outside their designated window will not be served.

What is the next step if an employee has a positive or inconclusive result?

Anyone screening presumptive positive or inconclusive MUST immediately self-isolate and contact Public Health for a PCR Test within 24 hours. They cannot be permitted in the workplace until there is a confirmed negative test result as verified by Public Health.

It is REQUIRED that Public Health be notified of any positive results immediately.

You are required to report all presumptive positive and inconclusive results to the Public Health authority.

Your employee is required to follow all of the Local Public Health authority’s direction and MUST arrange for a PCR test within 24 hours of their presumptive positive or inconclusive result.

Reporting from our Rapid Screening Kit website is uploaded to the Ministry of Health and Health Canada for data collection.

Who can perform the screen on the employees?

The Ontario Government authorizes “self” screening using these kits. However, there is a requirement that a Screening Supervisor who has been trained via the video you watched and was sent after your initial order by email.

No one other than the employee should perform the swabbing procedure on any employee. The supervisor is there to instruct and ensure the procedure is followed for an accurate result.

Can I show my supervisors how to do the screens and have them watch the video in order to have them supervise the screens?

At this point, the Ministry of Health requires that a trained individual supervises the screening process. You will receive an email after your initial pick-up. Contained in that email is a link to report results as well as a link to the training video to use as a refresher and/or train other supervisors.

How frequently should we be screening our employees?

The recommendation from public health is that all employees should be screened twice per week.

It is understood in some settings or with a higher frequency of close contact that some businesses will want to screen more than twice per week. Please advise us at rapidtesting@gncc.ca if you need to do this, and we will arrange for extra supplies to be delivered for you.

Conversely, some may want to test less frequently or may have a variety of schedules when employees are in the workplace. We highly recommend abiding by public health recommendations whenever possible.

How much supply can I request?

To ensure that we have enough supplies for everyone, we are distributing kits in two-week batches. To screen employees twice weekly, you would therefore pick up four kits per employee, and return in two weeks to pick up additional kits, and to drop off used kits if you require disposal.

Do these kits have an expiry date?

Yes, they do. Kits are given out on a first-to-expire basis to ensure that stocks are used efficiently. We only give supplies for two weeks and will ensure that all kits distributed will not expire within that period.

Expired kits may not be as accurate. Please check the expiration on your kit before use and advise us if it has expired.

Do I only give screens for employees showing symptoms?

No. In fact, it should be recognized that anyone showing symptoms must be kept OUT of the workplace and must not be allowed to return until Local Public Health provides a confirmed Negative result from a diagnostic PCR Test.

It is allergy season and people are experiencing symptoms similar to COVID-19. Should we avoid screening people that may be experiencing allergy symptoms, or should we screen them regardless?

Anyone showing symptoms that are similar to COVID-19 could be infectious, should not be screened, and must be diverted directly to public health for a PCR assessment.

While we recognize some symptoms can resemble allergies, the risk to your workplace, your other employees, and to you is not worth taking.

I am a consultant on workplace safety. Can I order on behalf of my clients and screen their employees?

No. These kits are provided free of charge to small and medium-sized businesses for the sole purpose of testing employees. A designated employee must be assigned the responsibility of taking the supervisor training, ensuring proper screening processes are adhered to and reporting on behalf of the employer the results of the screens. There are avenues available for third-party vendors to purchase their own kits outside of this program to provide screening services.

Can I purchase extra kits so I can screen those I want to, and if so, how much do they cost?

No. These are not for sale and we are not authorized to charge anyone for these kits. The document you signed also requires that you not sell or distribute these as well.

The retail value of a box of 25 kits is approximately $200. The kits are funded by the governments of Canada and Ontario. Their distribution is provided as a community service by the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce and Great Wolf Lodge.

Do I have to be a member of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce to order the kits?

No, this program is open to all small and medium-sized employers within the Niagara region. Employers with over 150 employees can order through the Ontario government’s portal.

I am a volunteer/employee for an organization, and we have a number of volunteers that would like to meet regularly in person. Can these kits be used for that purpose?

No. These kits are not to be used to validate or substantiate a failure to follow public health guidelines. They are not intended to be used to verify negative carriers so that guidance rules by the Province or local public health can be waived. Any person who screens presumptive negative MUST continue to follow public health guidelines of distancing, washing their hands, wearing a mask properly, and adhering to public health gathering orders.

Some of our Employees are required to travel for business. Can this screen validate them for travel?

No.  While this screen has extremely good reliability, this is not a tool for travel. Adhere to the rules laid out by the governments of Ontario, Canada, and any country you may be traveling to or from.

I noticed there are two packages marked Control Swabs. What do we use them for?

Contained in each kit are two Control Swabs. One will produce a negative result, the other will produce a positive result. These are ONLY to be used for quality control purposes. If you are finding that the results are not showing up on the testing pads, you can follow the process in the manual provided to do a quality control check of the pads by simply following the same testing regime. DO NOT SWAB ANYONE WITH THESE CONTROL SWABS. They are pre-loaded with ingredients to produce positive/negative results.

While the Positive Control Swab will show positive for COVID-19, there is nothing on the swab that is infectious. You cannot get COVID-19 from the positive swab.

 

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