COVID-19 rapid test trial rolled out in NSW region
The trial program will help ensure the safety of essential workers and operational services.
Tamworth Regional Council is one of the first in the state to pilot rapid COVID-19 tests which take just 15 minutes.
The trial program will help keep essential workers safe and services operational, United Services Union organizer Mark Hughes said.
“These are essential service workers and a lot of people don’t realize some of the essential workers we have with the councils, like those in charge of water and sewage,” he said.
“People who can’t work from home but beyond that they are absolutely essential. Imagine not being able to turn on your tap and have a glass of water or flush the toilet.”
The pilot program will be conducted among employees of the water department.
Testing will only be done on workers who show no symptoms.
Those with flu-like symptoms will undergo a full COVID-19 PCR test at an authorized testing center and self-isolate until they test negative.
The council’s director of human resources, Marie Resch, said the program will help screen employees and “quickly identify and isolate those who have COVID-19.”
“By screening employees, we can quickly identify and isolate those who have COVID-19 and therefore minimize any disruption to service delivery and potential transmission in the community,” she said.
Mr Hughes said the intention was that council contractors traveling to Tamworth from outside the region would also be tested.
He said the program would help reduce the number of people forced into days of isolation while awaiting the result of a coronavirus test.
“It’s to limit downtime, to limit disruption to essential services,” he said.
“In a way, yes, he’s coming back to some sense of normality.”
Rapid antigen tests for COVID-19, which can be done at home but are generally less accurate than pathology tests, are an important part of the pandemic response in Europe and Asia, but have not yet been widely used. used in Australia.
The Tamworth Council has contracted a local specialist supplier to carry out the tests using kits approved by the Therapeutics Administration.
The Council plans to expand the program to other critical service delivery areas in the coming weeks and months.