Brightwater first aged care provider in WA to trial Rapid Antigen testing for COVID-19
Brightwater Care Group is the first aged care provider in WA to trial Rapid Antigen testing for COVID-19.
The trial which commenced in March of this year, was designed to determine the operational feasibility and acceptability of the Rapid Antigen test, which provides COVID-19 test results within 20 minutes.
The Rapid Antigen test has been used overseas successfully and Brightwater CEO, Jennifer Lawrence, said to be effective in protecting vulnerable people from COVID-19, screening and monitoring tools like this were an essential part of the future.
“Currently, RT-PCR is used to detect COVID-19 in symptomatic individuals as it is the most accurate form of testing. However, the turnaround time for results is up to 24 hours and increases with demand,” she explained.
“The Rapid Antigen tests were reported to have a lower sensitivity than RT-PCR. The benefit however, is that a result is generated within 20 minutes, providing a rapid turnaround time and a method to screen staff immediately prior to starting work.”
Jennifer said the trial was just one of the ways Brightwater was investing in getting ahead of the pandemic.
“Western Australia has been very fortunate to date when it comes to COVID-19, so conducting this trial in a COVID-19 free environment was something important we could do not just for our own organisation, but the whole community.
“In recent months, we have seen the implementation of the Rapid Antigen test in aged care settings in New South Wales, but no one else has been doing it in a COVID-19 free environment.
“By conducting the trial, we have been able to show that the test will be another great part of our response should we see COVID-19 in WA.”
To date, over 50 staff have been tested during the trial, with the Rapid Antigen test presenting no false positive results.
“The test will be an invaluable screening tool in the event of community transmission in Western Australia. We have successfully trialled its acceptability by staff and are now invested in having tests available in our pandemic response kit so that we can quickly test staff, residents and visitors should we ever need to,” Jennifer said.