Rapid Antigen Screening Program

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada, the chamber will be providing free COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Screening kits to small and medium-sized businesses with 150 or fewer employees.

These rapid self-screening tests will play an essential role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, by allowing businesses enhanced workplace screening to identify and isolate COVID-19 cases among their staff, thereby keeping their employees, workplaces and customers safe. Rapid testing is critical to curbing the spread of the virus and allowing businesses to open safely.

The latest information from Health Canada suggests that up to one-third of people carrying the virus are asymptomatic causing little 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 and get to more normalized community life.

Free Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Screening Program North Bay District Chamber of Commerce

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.

Businesses can place an order via a portal (link below). Kits will then be available for pick-up at the NBDCC office at a scheduled date and time.

The Ontario Ministry of Health recommends businesses screen their employees twice a week using these tests. As part of this program, the Ministry of Health and Health Canada require participating businesses to report the positive, negative, and inconclusive results of each test and that reporting must be done electronically through the portal.

DISCLAIMER: These kits are NOT for anyone showing symptoms related to COVID-19. Employees must immediately leave the workplace and arrange a PCR test with their local Public Health Unit (North Bay-Parry Sound District Health Unit) if they are exhibiting symptoms, or if they receive a positive test result through the Rapid Antigen Self Screening Kit. They must also work with local Public Health to determine when it is safe for them to return to work. Screening kits are an added measure but all other PPE and distancing protocols must continue to be followed regardless of screening.

Note: The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce does not receive or have access to any results reported by participating businesses.

GETTING STARTED

Designated Screening Supervisor

Each business participating should assign a Designated Screening Supervisor, who will be the contact person. This is the person that must complete the training, order, pick up the kits, and complete all reporting. We will not be able to provide kits to anybody who has not completed this training. The Screening Supervisor only needs to complete the training once; it is not required to be repeated to place subsequent orders.

Training Video
(one time only, prior to first order)

The following training videos must be viewed in their entirety by the Designated Screening Supervisor, and we strongly recommend that they be shared with all employees who may be taking part in the screening process.

We require confirmation that the Designated Screening Supervisor has viewed the above videos in their entirety. Please click HERE to complete the online form to confirm (one time only, prior to first order).

To determine the process of administering tests in your business (Centralized or De-centralized), learn more HERE.

Ordering Your Kits

The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce has partnered with StaySafe™ to manage the registration, ordering, and scheduled pickups of its Rapid Antigen Screening Kits.  This portal is easy to use. 

When you first register, you will be asked to review TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Please take the time to review carefully.

You will be allowed to order a two-week supply based on the number of employees in your business. 

You will be prompted to select a pick-up date and time. We are running the pick-up times on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00am to 11:00am at the NBDCC office on 205 Main Street East.  Please do not show up unexpectedly to the Chamber office, as we are closed to the public,  and arrive the day and time you selected.

When you arrive to pick up your order, please pull up to the curb at front of the door (Wyld Street entrance). Call the chamber office contact, Donna Backer at 705-472- 8480 ext 224 to let her know you have arrived. Please ensure that you are wearing a mask and please do not exit your vehicle. We will confirm the order for your business and bring the kits to your vehicle.

Please review, print and sign the Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP) Agreement/Commitment and the Waiver of Liability forms and you must hand this in when you make the first order pick up.

Reporting

Note: When re-ordering you will be required to report results for 75% of your kits, prior to a refill order being arranged.

On a weekly basis, you must report the number of tests administered, number of positives, and number of negative results at the StaySafe™ portal. These results will be shared with Health Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Anyone who receives a positive test result through the Workplace Self Screening Kit will need to self-isolate and immediately make arrangements with the North Bay & Parry Sound District Health Unit to receive a PCR test as soon as possible. They must also follow the North Bay & Parry Sound District Health Unit guidelines to determine when it is safe for them to return to work. The North Bay & Parry Sound District Health Unit can be contacted at www.myhealthunit.ca.

FAQ’s

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

You CANNOT give kits to anyone. They are ONLY for use with your employees that are frequently coming to the workplace. You also cannot test anyone else other than employees coming to the workplace, this is essential as reporting preliminary positives or inconclusive results may call into question your ability/authority to do so. Employees have the right to refuse, but when they comply that is consent to collect and report the data.

What is the accuracy of these tests?

Rapid antigen POCT are less sensitive and specific than lab-based PCR tests, meaning that results are not as accurate. As such, rapid antigen POCT may yield some false negative test results (i.e., a result that indicates the individual is not infected with COVID-19 when in fact they are), and to a lesser extent, some false positive test results (i.e., a result that indicates the individual is infected with COVID-19 when in fact they are not). In particular this is why NO ONE SHOWING SYMPTOMS should be screened using these tests, as a false negative result might put the organization in a compromising position.

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

Rapid Antigen Screening uses a nasal swab and is not invasive. The requirement is the swab must be inserted into each nostril for 5 to 7 seconds 2 cm (1 inch) inside the nasal, while ensuring the inside of the nostril is wiped by the swab.

What is the reporting responsibility our business has with respects to the results of the tests?

Use of all rapid tests must reported to the Ontario government. Each SME will be required to electronically submit their screening results after each occasion and will be recommended to screen staff twice weekly.

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

Anyone with a preliminary positive MUST immediately self-isolate and book a PCR Test at an assessment centre within 24 hours and cannot be permitted to return to the workplace until advised to do so by the Public Health Unit. An inconclusive result can be retested immediately at the workplace. According to the Ministry of Health, workplaces are required to report all preliminary positive and inconclusive test results to the local Public Health Unit. It is REQUIRED that the Public Health Unit be notified of any preliminary positive results by the person who performed the test.

Your employee is required to follow of the direction provided by the local Public Health Unit and MUST arrange for a PCR test at an assessment centre within 24 hours of their preliminary positive result

Who can perform the test on the employees?

The Ministry of Health has authorized that supervised self swabbing may occur if a trained individual (persons are considered training once they have watched the training video) or health professional is supervising the self swabbing.

What is the frequency we should be testing our employees?

The recommendation from public health is that all employees should be tested 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 if that is the case.   We would like to help but this will affect our required supply needs at the Chamber, and we may need to work with the province to obtain additional tests.

Conversely some may want to test less frequently or may have a variety of schedules that employees are in the workplace. It is really up to you, but please, put the safety of your employees first, and that will ensure you have a safe workplace.

Do these kits have an expiry date?

Yes, they do, however it appears that all of our supply has an expiry date in 2022. We will advise if we are getting close to the expiry dates. Kits should not be stored to be used at a later date. Using the kits after they expire cannot be assumed to have the accuracy they do prior to expiry. Caution should be taken to review the box and ensure they are not expired.

Do I only give tests to 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. The employee would need to provide proof of negative test to return to work (unless otherwise advised to stay home and isolate).

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

Again, anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 could in fact be infectious and should not be tested, but rather diverted directly to self-isolate and book PCR test at an assessment centre. While we recognize some symptoms can resemble allergies, the risk to the workplace is not worth ignoring them.

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 their sole purpose. A designate 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 tests. There are avenues available for third party vendors to purchase their own kits and outside of this program to provide screening services, this program is intended to remain complimentary and direct to employers only.

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

No, these are not for sale, we are not authorized to charge anyone for these kits, conversely the document you signed also requires that you not sell or distribute these as well. The test kits are provided in-kind from the provincial government.

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

These tests should only be used in instances where someone must be at work – they shouldn’t be used as tool to allow someone to be at a workplace who should otherwise be at home.

Some of our Employees are required to travel for business, can this screen validate them for travel?

NO. This is not a tool for travel or usurping any Federal, Provincial or International guidelines, it should only be used for routine workplace screening.

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 by the trained individual or health professional conducting the tests, for quality control purposes. If you are finding that the results are not showing up on the testing cartridge’s, 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 EXCEPT DO NOT SWAB ANYONE WITH THESE CONTROL SWABS, they have ingredients on them already to produce the results.

While the Positive Control Swab will show Positive for COVID-19, there is nothing on the swab that is infectious or that will pass COVID-19 it is a pre-loaded swab and should not be used for anything other than quality control.

If you have not found the answer to your questions please email us at rapidtest@nbdcc.ca.  We will do our best to answer for you.