A small COVID-19 leak from the quarantine can have dire consequences for the entire population. Look at the two-week blockade in Victoria following an incident that escaped South Australia’s quarantine.
People look at Howard Springs’ federal facilities and believe that their physical characteristics (67 hectares of accommodation blocks, separate cabins, fresh air) are the reason why they aren’t occurring in the community. However, they lack an important element of their management: the daily rapid antigen test used by AUSMAT-the Federal Health Swat team, which has overseen the facility until recently.
This could be the key to why Howard Springs facilities haven’t yet faced an outbreak.
Rapid antigen testing uses test strips that respond to the presence of viral proteins in samples wiped from the throat and nose, similar to pregnancy testing. Results are available in minutes instead of hours, as occurs in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests used in other facilities, such as hotel quarantine, which forms the backbone of the Australian quarantine system.
Slow PCR test results mean that staff can interact with the community for hours before they realize they are infectious. So people may be discharged from the quarantine. Both can have catastrophic consequences, such as community outbreaks, if staff or people leaving the quarantine are unaware that they are COVID-positive and are moving within the community. This has led to uncontrolled community expansion, as it recently happened in Victoria, and may require state-wide blockades.
If you want to make your quarantine system safer and avoid further outbreaks, building more Howard Springs-type facilities is not the answer. Rapid daily antigen testing may give us the security we need. They may help prevent COVID-19 from spreading to the community when quarantine workers return home from work every night. Returnees can also quickly identify rare cases that are retested after quarantine and positive after leaving the facility.
Given the emergence of new, highly infectious substances of concern, their rapid results are fascinating. Their low cost ($ 10 per test) means they are cost effective to deploy on a regular basis. Adding precautions to wear masks for those who leave the quarantine in the first week can make the outbreak of a widespread community a thing of the past. I don’t want to be the case to lock down the state.
The UK already offers free rapid antigen testing to all citizens twice a week. With more complete vaccination in Australia, rapid antigen testing may also work in the general community. Regular and rapid community surveillance can help keep the population safe, especially when the borders begin to open after vaccine deployment.
A quick $ 10 COVID test in pop is the way to a safer and more open road to Australia.
Source link A quick $ 10 COVID test in pop is the way to a safer and more open road to Australia.