Rapid testing for COVID-19: what you need to know

January 14, 2022 | News

Long-term care homes

The province has sent out more than 200,000 rapid tests through the Provincial Health Services Authority. These tests should have been sent to all long-term care homes in the province, in the form of two shipments per site. The total number of tests sites will receive depends on the number of beds (roughly 6 tests per bed, across both shipments). If you have not yet received any rapid tests, or don’t think you have the right amount, please let us know: info@safecarebc.ca.

These rapid tests are intended to be used primarily for visitors. Public health are still finalizing guidance on their use for staff. Every visitor should be screened, every day that they enter the long-term care home. This requirement is in addition to the existing infection prevention and control practices such as requiring proof of vaccination, mask-wearing in common spaces, and hand hygiene. Once a long-term care home has set up rapid point-of-care screening, social visitation can resume (one designated social visitor per resident, in addition to any essential visitors where applicable). To note, we do not expect there will be any exceptions to the rapid testing requirement for visitors.

Resources on how to implement rapid testing to screen visitors
PHSA has a series of videos setting out how to prepare, administer, and record rapid tests. You can find them here.

Poll: How is the rapid testing rollout going?
We are interested in getting some feedback from our long-term care members on how the province’s recent rapid testing rollout is going. If you are responsible for rapid testing or screening at a long-term care site, we would be grateful if you could take a moment to fill out our quick Snap Poll


Home Care operators

We know that many of our home care members are also using rapid testing as an additional layer of protection against COVID-19. The best way to access these tests for free remains the PHSA Rapid POC testing program. To get started you can email RapidPOCTeam@phsa.ca to express an interest. There have been some supply issues over the past couple of weeks, but we understand a large supply of rapid tests is due to arrive in BC from the federal government soon, so these issues should be cleared up soon.

SafeCare BC also has a list of alternative suppliers for those interested in purchasing rapid tests from other sources. You can find these at www.safecarebc.ca/rapidtesting.