RAPID TEST KITS are now available for your workplace.
NOTE: Weekly reporting to the Belleville Chamber of Commerce is no longer required.
Data suggests the performance of RATs may not be as good at detecting Omicron compared to previous variants, but swabbing the inside of the cheek and the back of the tongue or throat, as well as the nose, increases the sensitivity of rapid tests in detecting Omicron.
Please review the updated training video
NOTE: The video begins by saying “there is no direct evidence” that performing a test with both throat and nasal swabs is better. Since the video was posted on February 7, 2022, more studies are showing this increases effectiveness. Current research shows that:
o Omicron is more likely to be detected in the throat
o Delta and other variants are more likely to be detected in the nasal cavity.
ABOUT Rapid Antigen Testing: (Updated March 23, 2022)
There are several distinct uses for rapid antigen tests, including:
Routine Screen testing for Asymptomatic Individuals
- Screen testing is frequent, systematic testing of people who are asymptomatic and without known exposure to a COVID-19 case. Individuals should be tested 3 or more times per week (Previous recommendation 2-3 times per week).
- Testing may be conducted at the workplace, or at home prior to travel to the workplace.
- An individual with confirmed COVID-19 based on a molecular or rapid antigen test may resume asymptomatic screen testing after 30 days from their COVID-19 infection (based on the date of their symptom onset or specimen collection, whichever is earlier).
For people with symptoms
- A positive RAT is highly indicative that a symptomatic individual has COVID-19 and is required to self-isolate. Members of the household do not need to self-isolate if
- Household members have previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days
- Household members that are 18+ and have received their booster dose
- Household members that are under 18 years old and are fully vaccinated (please refer to Updated Guidance Document - Mar 23, 2022 for details on the “COVID Self-Isolation Guidelines)
- If two consecutive RATs, separated by 24-48 hours, are both negative, the symptomatic individual is less likely to be infected, and the individual is advised to self-isolate until symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms).
One-off, non-routine/infrequent asymptomatic testing
- One-off testing (e.g. before a social gathering) by people not experiencing COVID19 symptoms and without a known exposure is generally not recommended.
- However, if a rapid antigen test is used in this way, it should be completed as close to the event as possible (e.g. ideally within a few hours of the event) and know that a negative result could be a false negative.
MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT: COVID-19 Integrated Testing & Case, Contact and Outbreak Management Interim Guidance: Omicron Surge GUIDANCE DOCUMENT Updated March 9, 2022
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Thank you for taking this step to protect not only your workplace, but our community.
CLICK TO ORDER TESTS
DISPOSAL OF WASTE from Rapid Antigen Tests: Waste generated from on-site workplace rapid antigen test use is considered a hazardous waste under the Environmental Protection Act. Waste from these tests is exempt from collection, storage and transportation requirements as long as the waste is disposed in Ontario. This waste must still be disposed of at a waste facility approved to handle biomedical waste. Businesses will receive a 'red bag' for the disposal of waste at their workplace. This waste can be returned to the Belleville Chamber of Commerce for proper disposal.
For waste generated from at-home rapid antigen test use, the regulatory requirements for managing the hazardous waste under the Environmental Protection Act do not apply.
The Belleville and neighbouring Chambers of Commerce, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario and Canadian governments, are participating in the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative. Through this initiative, local chambers of commerce will roll out free rapid tests for small- and medium-sized businesses.
The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses. Businesses (including non-chamber members) with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in this program. The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and around the community in the Quinte region.
The Initiative was first successfully piloted in the Waterloo region by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Communitech, the Government of Ontario and Government of Canada.
“Rapid testing is one of the key ways to keep workplaces as safe as possible during the pandemic as we wait for vaccinations to roll out. It will be an essential part of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities so that we can get on the path to economic recovery faster,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
(for businesses with more than 150 employees, please check your eligibility here).