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COVID-19 Rapid screening

Rapid screening helps identify COVID-19 in people who don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected. As part of our layers of protection in place this fall, we are offering rapid screening to all students, faculty and staff who are not vaccinated, or who choose not to declare their vaccination status.

We have partnered with the Travel Medicine and Vaccination Centre (TMVC) to offer free, point-of-care rapid, antigen screening on all three campuses. Screening tests are fast and painless and will be administered by an RN or LPN using a mid-nasal swab.

Our approach is informed by guidance from the BCCDC and the rapid screening pilot conducted last summer.

Who's eligible?

Students, faculty and staff who have:  

  • declared they are not vaccinated, or
  • have chosen not to declare their vaccination status
  • not yet declared their COVID-19 vaccination status

To be screened, participants must be asymptomatic or free of any COVID-19 symptoms.

Invites for rapid screening

If you are eligible to participate, you will receive an invite to register for rapid screening from thrive-health@sfu.ca.

Once you submit a declaration that you have been vaccinated, you will no longer receive invites for rapid screening. 

Locations + times

Rapid screening will be available on all three campuses. Locations, hours and days of operation will only be shared with those invited to participate.

Steps

#1: Register

Once you receive your invitation to participate via thrive-health@sfu.ca, you will get a link to register and schedule your recurring appointments online.

#2: Take the test

The appointment takes less than 15-20 minutes total. Bring your SFU ID card and your Provincial Health Insurance Number or your guard.me SFU card.

Please wear a mask and arrive on time for your appointment.

You should not get rapid screening if you:

  • are partially or fully vaccinated
  • are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms  
  • have tested and received a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 in the past 90 days
  • have been identified as a close contact by public health and have been asked to get a diagnostic test
  • have returned to Canada from any country (including the United States) within the last 14 days
  • are self-isolating or have been asked to self-isolate by public health

#3: Get your results

Your results will be handled by TMVC health care workers. You can choose to wait for your results in the waiting area however it’s not necessary they will also be sent by email. 

#4: Rebook

Continue to book your appointments and get screened once per week unless you are instructed not to do so or your eligibility status changes. 

Privacy

All information collected by TMVC is housed in a secure system in Canada. TMVC will share aggregate screening results (without identifiable information) with the SFU staff members leading the project.

TMVC collection notice

Information is collected by TMVC under the authority of the University Act [RSBC 1996] c. 468 and sections 26(a), (c) and (e) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act [RSPBC 1996] c 165, for the purposes of scheduling and processing your COVID-19 rapid screening test, managing rapid screening, contact tracing (if necessary), and delivering you the results of your rapid screening test. The personal information collected by TMVC includes your name, email address, phone number, date of birth and covid screening and test results. Positive Screens will be reported to Public Health. Diagnostic COVID-19 testing swabs and results may also be collected and disclosed to the designated Health Authority. Aggregate screening information will be used by SFU in planning the provision of and monitoring the safety of in-person services across SFU campuses during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions about the collection and use of this information, please contact Provost and Vice-President Academic, vpacad@sfu.ca.

Questions?

Email: covid19@sfu.ca

Screening FAQs

Why only this group? Can others get screened?

SFU’s approach is informed by guidance from the BCCDC. For the duration of this program, only the eligible groups can participate (see who’s eligible above). SFU will use a data-informed approach to evaluate the service to inform future delivery.

How do I book or cancel an appointment?

Those who are eligible will receive instructions via email on how to book an appointment. Each campus has its own booking link and you should attend the screening site on the campus you most often frequent.

If you need to cancel an appointment or have specific questions about booking, please contact TMVC by email at prescreensfu@tmvc.com or by phone at 604-681-5261 extension 119.

What can I expect at my appointment?

After you’ve booked your appointment with TMVC, you will need to attend the site for the campus you frequent most. Participants are asked to arrive for their appointment only a couple of minutes early and line up in the designated area until they are directed by the check-in desk staff.

The TMVC check-in staff will ask you to confirm your information and will ask you a few pre-screening questions to determine your eligibility. If you are cleared, they will direct you to one of the screening stations. The RN or LPN will explain the screening procedures, and will do the quick and painless nasal swab.

Once completed, you can wait for your screening results however this is not necessary as you will receive them by email or by phone through TMVC’s automatic system.

What is the difference between screening and testing?

Rapid antigen screening tests for SARS-CoV-2 are intended to identify occurrence at the individual level even if there is no reason to suspect infection (e.g., there is no known exposure). Screening tests are intended to identify infected individuals without, or prior to development of, symptoms who may be contagious so that measures can be taken to prevent further transmission. A screening COVID-19 test is specific for SARS-CoV-2 but has a lower sensitivity (e.g., ability to pick up the virus) than that of a diagnostic test. Rapid antigen screening is used for screening purposes only and is not used for diagnosis of acute COVID-19 infection. It provides an indicator of whether diagnostic testing is needed in those who are asymptomatic.

Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 infection typically involves a nasopharyngeal swab and PCR analysis. This is the recommended option for anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms. Diagnostic testing is needed to confirm COVID-19 infection.

What kind of screening device are we using?

The Abbott Panbio COVID-19 Ag rapid screening device. It is a point-of-care rapid antigen screening for COVID-19 that uses a mid-nasal swab to collect samples.

Does it hurt?

The mid-nasal swab used is similar to a cotton tip applicator (i.e. a Q-tip). It is inserted a short distance into your nostril and rolled over the mucosa inside the nose. It may be uncomfortable for a few seconds but does not cause any pain or harm.

Who is administering the screening?

SFU is working with Travel Medicine & Vaccination Centre (TMVC). A health care professional (RN or LPN) will administer the screening.

What are the safety protocols around the screening site?

Following WorkSafe BC and BCCDC guidelines, SFU has implemented a safety plan to ensure health and safety of those working in or visiting the site. This includes additional cleaning of the site and training procedures to ensure reliability and safety of all workers operating the screening site. In addition, participants will be asked pre-screening questions to ensure they do not have COVID-19 symptoms at the time of booking and when they check-in prior to getting the rapid screening.

Screening results

What happens if I screen positive?

If your screening result is positive, the registered nurse site supervisor will advise that you get a diagnostic COVID-19 test. You will have the option of receiving a diagnostic COVID-19 test in a private room, involving a nasopharyngeal swab, which would be performed by the registered nurse site supervisor. This test would be sent to a provincial lab for PCR analysis. Alternatively, you will have the option of getting tested at a nearby provincial testing facility. You would be asked to immediately self-isolate at home while awaiting your confirmatory test results from public health (takes approximately 24-48 hours). TMVC or SFU will not receive your confirmatory test results.

If you are a student living in Residence, email Residence and Housing at housing@sfu.ca. Residence and Housing will provide further information and support for self-isolating. More information is available on the Residence and Housing’s website.

If you are a student living off campus or a staff or faculty member, you will need to leave SFU and self-isolate at home and follow the BCCDC Guidelines for self-isolation.

Additional support is available for students during self-isolation whether you live on or off campus, by emailing student_support@sfu.ca

What happens if I screen negative?

If your screening result is negative, you will get your results sent to you electronically and can go on with your day. We recommend that you to schedule recurring appointments once weekly.

If I screen negative, do I still have to follow COVID-19 public health guidelines?

Yes. Continue to wear a mask and comply with all existing COVID-19 Public Health guidelines and SFU directives. You may have screened negative, but could still be incubating the virus. Also, screenings are not 100% accurate and may not detect every single positive case. Repeat screening once weekly is recommended. 

Who has access to my screening results?

Your results will be handled by TMVC health care workers and kept confidential and private. If a screening result is positive, the health care professional will need to report that a presumptive positive result has occurred to Public Health.

Any diagnostic test performed on site will be sent to a provincial lab for PCR analysis. If the diagnostic test is positive, the lab reports this to Public Health in Fraser Health Authority or Vancouver Coastal Health, so that a Public Health worker, often a nurse, can follow up with the patient on self-isolation and contact tracing.  

SFU will not know who screened or tested positive, but will be aware that a positive screening was detected (without identifiable information).

How will privacy and confidentiality be maintained?

Travel Medicine and Vaccination Centre (TMVC) maintains client data via a secure web-based software program. All data is stored and back up in a secure facility within Canada and is collected under the authority of Sections 26(c) of the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

Who can I contact if I have questions about the screening site or about the information collected?

Should you have any other questions or concerns, email us at covid19@sfu.ca.

Privacy FAQs

WHAT SPECIFIC INFORMATION WILL BE COLLECTED BY TMVC?

  • Full name, email address, phone number, date of birth, results of COVID-19 rapid screening
  • Public Health will also be collecting eForms from TMVC, which includes the above listed information as well as your personal health number and postal code.
  • TMVC will not retain a copy of the eForm after it has been sent to Public Health. 

FOR WHAT PURPOSE IS THIS INFORMATION BEING GATHERED?

  • TMVC is collecting your personal information for the purpose of booking your rapid screen, managing rapid screen, and providing you with the results of your rapid screen. 
  • Aggregate data is being collected by SFU for the purpose of planning the safe provision of on-campus services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

HOW WILL PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY BE MAINTAINED?

  • TMVC maintains client data via a secure web-based software program. All data is stored and backed up in a secure facility within Canada. 
  • Your information will not be shared in an identifiable form with SFU.

WHO HAS ACCESS TO MY SCREENING RESULTS?

  • Your results will be handled by TMVC health care workers. If a screening result is positive, the health care professional will need to report that a positive result has occurred to Public Health. 
  • Any additional diagnostic testing, optionally performed on-site after a positive screen, will be sent to a provincial lab for PCR analyzing. If the diagnostic test is positive, the lab reports this to Public Health in Fraser Health Authority or Vancouver Coastal Health, so that a Public Health worker can follow up with you regarding self-isolation and contact tracing. 
  • SFU will not know who screened positive, but will be aware that a positive screening was detected (without identifiable information).

Additional resources