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Rapid COVID-19 Point of Care Screening Program

Point-of-care (POC) test kits can be used to rapidly screen people for COVID-19 in select settings to reduce the chances of outbreaks and control the spread of COVID-19.

Last updated: September 14, 2021


Point-of-care (POC) test kits are now available to support select screening initiatives in British Columbia.


Point-of-care (POC) test kits are devices that can be used as a screening tool for COVID-19 in people without symptoms. POC tests are rapid and provide results at the point of testing usually within 15 to 20 minutes.  

POC tests are generally less sensitive at detecting COVID-19 infection than standard PCR testing. However, they can still be useful tools for screening programs. 

How to access rapid POC tests

Rapid tests (nasal) will be provided for use in accordance with the Provincial Health Officer order.

  • Health authority owned/operated and contracted facilities – contact your regional health authority for information on how to access test kits or with any other questions you may have.
  • Fully private facilities (without any health authority contracted beds) - Contact our Rapid Point-of-Care Screening Program at RapidPOCTeam@phsa.ca for information on how to access test kits or with any other questions you may have.

Businesses that would like to access rapid antigen tests and establish onsite rapid COVID-19 workplace screening programs for employees with no symptoms (asymptomatic) can apply through the Business Council of British Columbia’s Safe Screen BC program.


The program offers guidance and support for rapid workplace screening programs for a fee. 


Safe Screen BC offers:

  • Guidance through the application process for the PHSA program
  • Tools and support to set up rapid antigen screening in the workplace
  • Access to a reporting platform to help meet public health reporting requirements
Learn more at www.safescreenbc.ca
Businesses that would like to access rapid antigen tests and establish onsite rapid COVID-19 workplace screening programs for employees with no symptoms (asymptomatic) can follow the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) program process to apply.

Organizations interested in Rapid COVID-19 POC tests can email RapidPOCTeam@phsa.ca for an intake assessment.

Organizations will receive training and operational support materials and learn about public health reporting requirements (see below). Organizations will be required to enter into an agreement with the Provincial Health Services Authority

Priority will be given to industries and organizations whose settings or activities are associated with an increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 or outbreaks due to high-contact between workers including:

  • Food processing plants
  • Sites with congregate living
    • Farms with congregate housing
    • Work camps in the natural resources sector

Industries and organizations approved to use publicly funded POC test kits for screening programs must demonstrate an ability to meet provincial requirements for screening sites. These include:

  • Appropriate infection, prevention and control practices
  • Identification of local Medical Health Officer (MHO) or designate at local health authority, for mandatory reporting of positive COVID-19 POC results
  • Commitment to reporting positive results electronically to local Medical Health Officers within agreed upon timelines
  • Establish clinical pathways for confirmatory testing for all positive results, and referral to care
  • Appropriately trained staff and regular proficiency testing training
  • Comply with quality and safety procedures and protocols
  • Comply with regional and provincial documentation and reporting requirements including utilization.
To learn about accreditation and the quality assurance process for point of care testing and requirements to report positive cases to public health, refer to the Provincial Health Officer letter on Point of Care Testing.

POC screening programs

‎POC testing for COVID-19 has been used by Health Authorities in B.C. for public health reasons such as outbreak management for COVID-19. Access to publicly funded POC tests has now expanded to include industries and organizations meeting the indications outlined in BC’s Rapid Point of Care Testing Strategy.

At this time, nasal swab collection can be done by a health care professional or a trained individual. Self-collected nasal swabs are now permitted when observed by a health care professional or a trained individual.


Training is required for anyone collecting or observing self-collected nasal swabs and for all individuals performing these tests, to ensure that important quality and reporting standards are met. All training requirements are outlined in the B.C. COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Screening Program, Guidelines and Requirements Standard Operating Procedures. Please refer to the content below for more about these documents.

When a POC screening program is in place, this does not replace or allow for the relaxing of existing public health measures. Among other things, it means that the use of personal protective equipment and physical distancing must be maintained.

 

Resources and training materials

Test kit guidelines and procedures

Client resources

If someone is coming to your workplace or community settings to do COVID-19 POC screening, this document has information that will let you know what to expect and what you need to do.


Training

Performing rapid COVID-19 Point of Care Screening in B.C. using Abbott Panbio
 

Translations

Reporting positive results using the PHSA eForm
 


More Information


SOURCE: Rapid COVID-19 Point of Care Screening Program ( )
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