Novel Coronavirus COVID-19
 

Routine Rapid Testing of Unvaccinated Front-Line Public Servants



Program Overview

Requirements for routine rapid testing of unvaccinated front-line public servants comes into effect on October 18, 2021. A public health order requires all provincial employees who have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with vulnerable populations to either be fully vaccinated, or to comply with strict testing procedures.

On August 24, 2021, the Manitoba government announced requirements for COVID-19 vaccination or testing for designated public servants, in preparation for a fourth wave of the pandemic.

The order applies to:

  • health care personnel;
  • school personnel;
  • licensed child care facility personnel;
  • public servants who regular have direct and ongoing or prolonged direct contact with vulnerable populations;
  • child and family service personnel;
  • funded agency personnel in direct contact with vulnerable populations;
  • home care workers; and
  • paramedics.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated public servants will need to undergo regular rapid testing every 48 hours. The minister noted workplaces will be required to make rapid testing available and employees should not seek testing at a provincial testing facility unless they have received a positive rapid test, have COVID-19 symptoms or have been directed by public health officials to seek a test at a provincial testing site.

Vaccination is not a condition of employment. Designated employees who choose not to be vaccinated, who are not fully vaccinated or cannot provide proof of vaccination by October 18, 2021, will undergo regular COVID-19 testing and includes the requirement to provide proof of a negative test result before they can resume working.




Vaccine/Testing Process for Designated People

Beginning on October 18, 2021, all designated people must follow these steps:

  • If you are vaccinated and work in one of the designated categories, you must provide proof to your administrator, no further action is required.
  • If you are not vaccinated and work in one of the designated categories, you must have tested negative for COVID-19 within the last 48 hours in order to work:
    • Your administrator must make rapid testing available to you.
    • You must provide your administrator with proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid test result in order to work.
    • If you test positive using a rapid test, you must report to a provincial testing facility to take a PCR test and self-isolate until you receive your results.
      • If your PRC test results are negative for COVID-19, provide them to your administrator. You may return to work.
      • If your PCR test result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days before you return to work. Upon your return to work following self-isolation you must test negative again with a rapid test and provide those results to your administrator.



Question and Answers


Your employer, supervisor or facility manager will help you determine if you are a ‘Designated Person’ under the order. You are a designated person if you are:

Health care personnel

Persons who have direct contact with patients, residents and clients at
(a) hospitals;
(b) northern nursing stations operated by the Government of Manitoba;
(c) personal care homes or supportive housing facilities;
(d) facilities operated by Shared Health Inc., a regional health authority, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba or a community services agency that are the subject of a funding agreement with Shared Health Inc. or a regional health authority;
(e) a residential mental health facility or addictions treatment facility that is operated by or the subject of a funding agreement with the Government of Manitoba.

For certainty, this includes physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, health care aides, cleaning staff, support services staff as well as persons volunteering at those facilities who have direct contact with patients, residents and clients.

School personnel

Persons who have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with students at a public or independent school. For certainty, this includes teachers, educational support staff, school administration staff, custodial staff, bus drivers, practicum students as well as persons volunteering at a school who have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with students.

Licensed child care facility personnel

Staff, practicum students and persons volunteering at a facility that is licensed under The Community Child Care Standards Act who have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with children at the facility.

Civil servants in direct contact with vulnerable populations

Civil servants who regularly have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, persons experiencing housing insecurity or persons with addictions. Civil servants working in congregate living facilities such as group homes or correctional facilities who have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with persons residing in those facilities.

Child and family service personnel

Persons employed or retained by, or volunteering with, a child and family services authority or a child and family services agency who have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with children.

Funded agency personnel in direct contact with vulnerable populations

Persons employed or retained by, or volunteering with, an agency or organization that has entered into a funding agreement with the Government of Manitoba, a child and family service authority or a child and family services agency to provide social services to children, seniors, persons with disabilities, persons experiencing housing insecurity or persons with addictions if they have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with those persons.

For certainty, this applies to persons working at group homes and other congregate living facilities who have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with residents.

Home care workers

Home care workers employed or engaged by a regional health authority who provide services to individuals who require health services or assistance with activities of daily living.

Paramedics

Paramedics and emergency medical responders employed or engaged by the operator of a land emergency medical response system licensed under The Emergency Medical Response and Stretcher Transportation Act.


To find a vaccine clinic or supersite clinic and to book an appointment nearest you, you can visit the #ProtectMB website or call 1-844-MAN-VACC (1-844-626-8222) toll-free.


Many public servants have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with vulnerable populations. As such, many are at a higher risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19, starting transmission chains that will affect those at greater risk.

While you do have the right to choose not to get vaccinated, you also have a professional and personal responsibility to help protect public health. If you decline to be vaccinated, you will have to undergo regular COVID-19 testing to help mitigate the risk and provide a proof of a negative test to their employer.


Your employer will arrange for testing - this may be a shared testing environment, self-testing or some other access to rapid testing technology. Do not seek testing at a provincial PCR testing facility unless you have received a positive rapid test or have COVID-19 symptoms.


Your employer, facility operator or supervisor (your administrator) is required to ensure testing supplies are available for designated persons who are not vaccinated.

Who pays for the cost of these tests (the employer, or cost-recovered from the designated person) is up to the individual employer to determine.


Your employer will arrange for testing - this may be a shared testing environment, self-testing or some other access to rapid testing technology. The following tests have been approved for use by the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer:

  • BD VeritorTM Plus System Rapid Tests
  • Abbott PanbioTM Test Kit Rapid Tests

Other types of tests will be listed once approved.


Your employer, facility operator or supervisor must identify an administrator under the public health order. This may be done on a facility-by-facility, department or corporate basis depending on your individual employer’s process. Your administrator will maintain a list of designated persons, gather proof of vaccination where available, and provide testing and track test results for unvaccinated staff.


Yes, some employers have chosen to require employees to get a vaccine for COVID-19. The Government of Manitoba is requiring direct contact workers to be vaccinated, and those who cannot or choose not to be vaccinated COVID-19 will be required to undergo regular testing.


Fully-vaccinated individuals are those who have received both doses (any combination) of an approved two dose COVID-19 vaccine (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna), OR a single dose of an approved single dose COVID-19 vaccine (Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) with more than 14 days having passed since the second dose (or approved sole dose) was received.


Yes. In order to be fully vaccinated, you must receive both doses of an approved two-dose COVID-19 vaccine and 14 days must pass from your second dose. If you have only been partially vaccinated (only one dose, or still within 14 days of a second dose) you will need to provide a negative COVD-19 test until you are fully vaccinated.


Yes. If you have already recovered from COVID-19, there is still a chance you could contract COVID-19 again or spread it to others. All affected public servants must be fully vaccinated, even if they have already had COVID-19, or must provide a negative COVID-19 test.


Vaccination is not a requirement of employment. If you do not choose to be vaccinated, you may provide proof of a recent (within 48 hours) negative test before the start of your shift. It is strongly recommended you speak to your doctor about your reasons for not being vaccinated to seek expert advice on the COVID-19 vaccine.


For designated persons, the results of a negative COVID-19 test will be considered valid for 48 hours from the time the swab is performed, provided the worker has not developed any symptoms of COVID-19 at the start of their shift.


Acceptable forms of proof will include the Manitoba Immunization Card (digital or physical).


Yes. The use of masks and other personal protective equipment is important in the overall approach to protecting Manitobans from the spread of COVID-19. Although you may be fully vaccinated, you work in an environment where others may not be or where you are caring for individuals who are vulnerable to more severe illness if exposed to COVID-19.


Yes. If you are feeling ill, please stay home and follow all current protocols.


If you have comments or concerns, please contact your direct supervisor or human resources and they will help direct you.


Access to rapid tests for business that choose to enact their own requirements is being coordinated through the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. For more information on how to acquire rapid tests, visit: winnipeg-chamber.com/chamber-blog/order-covid-19-rapid-test-kits/.


An antigen rapid test should not come back positive for COVID-19 if you have had an infection and recovered. This is because they are less sensitive than the PCR tests done at government sites, and are much less likely to pick up an old infection.

However, if you had a rapid test that came back positive, and a test from a provincial facility that came back negative, you can return to work. If you are concerned this may be a continuing issue, you can contact your local public health office to get a letter that advises you had a previous COVID-19 infection.


No. Antibody testing is not recommended by public health officials.