Research

Rapid testing at work works well  
Comprehensive workplace rapid testing programmes to identify COVID-19 infections work well, give accurate results and are welcomed by participating employers, a study has found.

A research team from the University of Toronto, Canada, noted “one of the reasons employees in workplaces are at risk is that we lack information on those who are asymptomatic and infectious and could transmit to others within workplaces or their homes.” It added: “The transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in workplaces has been a persistent issue throughout the pandemic.”

The team examined a not-for-profit initiative created to mitigate COVID-19 workplace transmission in Canada, involving a workplace frequent rapid antigen test (RAT) programme and over 320,000 tests. The screening programme identified 473 asymptomatic individuals who tested positive on the RAT and confirmed positive by a PCR diagnostic test. One in 4,300 RATs was presumptive positive but later tested PCR negative so false positives did not meaningfully disrupt workplace operations, the study found. Most employers rated the programme highly and felt strongly that it contributed to workplace and community safety.

The authors conclude: “The findings describe a sustained and scalable implementation plan for establishing a frequent workplace testing programme. High-frequency testing programmes offer the potential to break chains of transmission and act as an extra layer of protection in a comprehensive public health response.”
Read more: Rosella LC et al. Large-scale implementation of rapid antigen testing system for COVID-19 in workplaces, {Full text] Science Advances, volume 8, number 8, 25 February 2022. Doi:  10.1126/sciadv.abm3608. Source: Risks 1035 

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