The intent of the FAQ is for organizations to edit as required to suit their organization and share with their employees to help answer questions that their employees might have regarding the rapid screening program.
What screening test is being used on me?
We will be using the (screen name and manufacturer). It has been reviewed and authorized for use by Health Canada. This screen uses (nasopharyngeal swabs/oropharyngeal swabs/saliva) for specimen collection and produces a result in about 15-20 minutes with a high degree of accuracy, but it is not considered a diagnostic test.
I’m interested, how do I get more information?
Employees are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming information sessions:
- Information Session #1: (date and time)
- Information Session #2: (date and time)
- Virtual Onboarding Session #1 (date and time)
- Virtual Onboarding Session (recording)
- One pager information page will be available at all pilot sites,
Why is (organization) focusing on rapid screening when vaccines have been created?
The rapid screen program will offer an extra level of comfort as an additional screening mechanism for participants who are working from the office regularly, as well as supporting the reopening of the economy. Early detection of infectiousness is key to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
What is rapid antigen screening?
Rapid antigen screens can usually detect infectiousness of COVID-19 in asymptomatic people in a matter of minutes helping to proactively identify at-risk cases, which in turn reduces the risk of further infection. The screening product we are piloting is considered fast, reliable, affordable - producing results in 15 minutes, with a high degree of accuracy. This screening does not replace the lab-based PCR diagnostic testing administered through public health. Team members who screen positive on a rapid antigen test will need to get a PCR test to confirm whether they have COVID-19. Team members should not rely on a negative antigen screen test as conclusive evidence that they are not infectious. Team members must continue to strictly adhere to public health advice and requirements related to COVID-19, including those related to COVID-19 testing, self-isolation periods, physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, face masks and other practices.
Why was the (location) selected for a rapid screening pilot?
We chose (location) as the location of the pilot because we have our medical clinic on site and access to health care professionals who can help administer the screens.
The (business unit) team provides an essential service and has been coming into our (workplace/office/warehouse) to (job description) throughout the pandemic. Screening for signs of infectiousness will keep them safer while doing their jobs.
Which (business unit) teams are eligible for the pilot?
All essential (organization business unit) employees in (location) can take part in the pilot based on availability. This includes (business unit) employees who work at (location).
Does this mean our entire team will go back to the office sooner?
An effective rapid screening system will make workplaces safer to reopen through early detection of COVID-19 but we are just in the very early stages of piloting these screens to determine whether they will be effective. At this point there is no change to our return to office timing which we anticipate will be in the spring.
My team is part of the pilot but what if I don’t want to participate?
Participation in the rapid antigen screening pilot is completely voluntary. No employee will be obligated to take part.
How often will I be screened as part of the pilot?
Screenings will take place twice a week at approximately 72 hours apart The screen is much less invasive than the PCR test administered at hospitals and is a simple nasal swab. (remove if using an NP or OP swab)
What happens if I test positive?
These screens are not a diagnostic tool but are generally considered an indication of infectiousness. If you test positive you will still need to get a PCR test (common lab-based COVID-19 test administered through Public Health) to confirm whether you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. You will need to stay home and isolate while you wait for your results from the confirmatory PCR test. If you test negative, you should not assume that you are not infectious and you must continue to strictly adhere to public health advice and requirements related to COVID-19, including those related to COVID-19 testing, self-isolation periods, physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, face masks and other practices.
How will my work be affected if there is a positive result?
If there is a positive result, the impacted employee will need to go for a PCR COVID-19 test and self isolate while they wait for the result. Contact tracing will take place to ensure there aren’t any other impacted employees. Employees that receive a positive rapid screening test and/or a PCR test will continue to be paid for up to 14 days while they self-isolate. Close contacts of positive results (contacts employed by the organization) will also continue to be paid for up to 14 days while they self-isolate. We will take all scenarios on a case by case basis.
What happens with the data you collect from pilot participants? How is it stored? How do you ensure privacy?
All data will be the responsibility of our (organization’s) Corporate Health Services department. They comply with the Medical Records Management policy laid out by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) (change to applicable regulating body in jurisdiction of your pilot – for example, the organization should also comply with PHIPA in Ontario for handling personal health information).
Results will be stored in the Ontario Laboratory Information System (OLIS) (change to applicable location for your pilot) and in accordance with the record keeping requirements of the regulated professional conducting your screening test. Positive test results will be communicated to the applicable public health authorities, if required in the applicable jurisdiction. All information shared with CDL RSC will be de-identified and associated with a unique identifier to help maintain the privacy of all pilot participants. This de-identified data will be stored in the CDL RSC Central Data Infrastructure (CDI). The de-identified information disclosed to the CDL RSC includes the participant’s role category (employee, guest, vendor), responses to the COVID-19 symptom and exposure assessment questionnaire, age range, screen type, pilot site, screen result, screening date, self-reported PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test date, location, result and CT (cycle threshold) value (if applicable), check-in length, screen length, and total turnaround time. The participant’s name, contact information and other personal information will not be shared with CDL RSC as part of this de-identified data.
How does CDL RSC use the de-identified information?
CDL RSC will use the de-identified data to provide aggregated statistical reporting to the participating organization, and create benchmarking reports and analysis based on de-identified data obtained from all participating organizations to allow members to assess and compare the efficacy of the use of the COVID-19 screens at their workplace.
Who do I contact with questions about the CDL RSC program?
Questions regarding the use of de-identified data by the CDL Rapid Screening Consortium can be sent to the CDL RSC Privacy and Security Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I don’t sign up for the pilot can I still be screened once in a while?
In order for the results of the pilot to be relevant and useful we will only be screening team members who have volunteered for the pilot and commit to screening twice a week for 10 weeks
Can I talk about the media about the pilot if asked?
No, as this is an internal company program. If you receive any media requests, please direct them to (public relations or communications team for your organization).
Why is (organization) participating in this pilot?
- Health and Safety
- (Organization) chose to join this voluntary program as we try to do everything we can to learn about the virus and keep us all as safe as possible.
- Knowledge and Comfort
- The rapid screening program will provide an additional layer of knowledge and comfort for our employees working from the office regularly and their families.
- Stopping the spread
- Early detection of infectiousness is key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and supporting the reopening of the Canadian economy.
Do I have a risk of contracting COVID-19 if I join the pilot?
The risk of contracting COVID-19 from joining the pilot is extremely low. The screening process is very quick and all screen administrators are (trained/medical professionals) and will be wearing full PPE. All screen pilot participants are required to be asymptomatic.
I heard that antigen tests aren’t as accurate as PCR tests, is this true?
The objective of frequent rapid testing is to find as many infectious people as soon as possible so that they can isolate and stop the spread of the virus.
Rapid antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests and may generate false positive results when used for screening, that is why any positive screens need to be followed up with a confirmatory PCR test. There is also the potential of false negative results, but this can be compensated by frequent testing (e.g. twice weekly).
For this screening purpose, antigen testing is very effective. This pilot is an extra layer of protection added to the existing screening processes already in place and does not replace other public health measures such as symptom screening, physical distancing, masking and hand hygiene. A rapid antigen test is not considered by public health authorities to be a diagnostic test and a preliminary positive result from a rapid antigen test should be followed up with a laboratory-PCR test to act as a confirmatory test.
Why are we using the combined throat and two nostril swab sample collection method and not the nasopharyngeal swab (NP)?
We’ve decided to use the combined throat and two nostril swab method since it's a better experience and more comfortable for the participants and because it's recommended to not use an NP when doing frequent screening.
Are false positives common with antigen tests?
False positives are infrequent but may occur when antigen tests are used for screening individuals at low risk of being infected. This is why confirmatory PCR is required when an antigen screen is positive”
False negatives are slightly more common but since we are doing regular screening, still continuing with the daily Health Questionnaire and pilot participants are required to strictly adhere to public health advice and requirements related to COVID-19 (including those related to COVID-19 testing, self-isolation periods, physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, face masks and other practices) the risk of a false negative is mitigated. The pilot is an extra layer added on the existing processes already in place; it does not replace any existing safety measures.
If I test positive in a PCR test can I return to the screening program and if so, how soon after?
You should definitely return to the screening program if you test positive in a PCR test. Once you are symptom free and able to return to work after the two week mandatory quarantine then it is recommended to return to the screening program. After two weeks an antigen screen shouldn't indicate a positive result as you are no longer infectious and this is also the case for "long haulers". If you screen positive on an antigen test after this period this could indicate a new infection.