After over two years of virtual events during the pandemic, many groups are beginning to gather in-person again.
One fraternity's tradition of hosting a reunion every two years was impacted by the pandemic. Their event in 2020 was skipped due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. That made their 2022 event in Charlotte, North Carolina, their first in-person meeting since 2018.
Because COVID-19 is still spreading through communities and hundreds of members planned to travel to the event, the fraternity offered onsite rapid PCR COVID testing for speakers and guests, including international attendees who needed a negative PCR test to return home. Testing was not mandatory for all guests but many were happy to have it available.
Onsite event testing is becoming more and more common, according to Dana Welle, D.O, J.D., chief medical officer of Tribeca Companies. “We’ve found that individuals feel more comfortable if they know other attendees have been tested, especially if they’re going to be taking their masks off in a group of people they don’t really know,” she said.
And increasingly, event planners turn to full-service providers like Senneca Dx, a Tribeca Company, to offer those services. Senneca Dx provides full-service, evidence-based testing solutions for COVID-19. The company has handled COVID testing for large film and television productions as well as industry conferences and other events.
“A lot of times, event managers get a bit overwhelmed because it’s a whole other piece of the puzzle that hasn’t been part of event management and planning in the past,” said Michelle Cirrito, events operations manager with Senneca Dx.
By working with a full-service provider, event organizers can gain the safety benefits of testing attendees. The service provider will manage all logistics and secure a CLIA waiver.
That’s why this fraternity hired Senneca Dx to provide onsite rapid PCR tests for attendees at their 2022 reunion.
“I can tell you from a boots-on-the-ground usage, it is the easiest technology for us to use. We are thrilled with the results from the Accula; the sensitivity and specificity are comparable to in-lab PCR tests."
– Dana Welle, D.O, J.D., chief medical officer of Tribeca Companies.
Testing event attendees the day of the event can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and is more effective than having attendees get a lab-based PCR test in the days leading up to the event .
Rapid antigen tests are sometimes used for day-of event testing because they can provide results in minutes, but they are less sensitive than lab-based PCR tests .
Rapid PCR testing docks lined up at event for onsite testing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to protect attendee safety.
For the recent gathering, Senneca Dx used Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Accula SARS-CoV-2 Test for rapid PCR results. The portable Accula test plugs into a standard outlet, with a 10-second dock initiation/start-up and no data entry required. It delivers accurate results in line with lab-based PCR testing, but in approximately 30 minutes, instead of days.
“I can tell you from a boots-on-the-ground usage, it is the easiest technology for us to use,” said Welle. “We are thrilled with the results from the Accula; the sensitivity and specificity are comparable to in-lab PCR tests."
Senneca Dx offers end-to-end onsite COVID health and safety solutions, including testing, handling the logistics of setting up the testing room, patient flow, notifying patients of test results, and more all managed through their proprietary, HIPPA compliant software platform.
If an attendee does test positive — which happens at nearly every event, Welle said — clinicians from Senneca Dx would call them, advise them of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for isolation, and can even ensure they don’t receive a pass for entry into the event.
Attendees embrace this level of security. Even when testing isn’t mandatory, Welle said many attendees take advantage of the onsite service.
“It provides a wonderful level of reassurances to the attendees that the event coordinator is providing a safe environment,” she said.
Event organizers will need to continue to understand attendees’ vaccine status and vulnerabilities as well as community prevalence of COVID-19 in the future. That information can inform decisions to offer evidence-based rapid PCR testing at future events.
To learn more about the Thermo Fisher Scientific rapid PCR test for COVID-19, go to the Accula SARS-CoV-2 Test webpage.
Senneca Dx has provided full-service event testing using the Thermo Fisher Scientific Accula SARS-CoV-2 Test for events with thousands of attendees, performing up to 18,000 tests a week.
1. International Journal of Public Health | Testing for COVID-19 is Much More Effective When Performed Immediately Prior to Social Mixing
2. Science | Coronavirus antigen tests: quick and cheap, but too often wrong?
3. Department of Health & Human Services | Renewal of Determination That a Public Health Emergency Exists
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | COVID Data Tracker
This Accula SARS-CoV-2 Test has not been FDA cleared or approved but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA for use by laboratories certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §263a, that meet requirements to perform high, moderate, or waived complexity tests. The test is authorized for use at the Point of Care (POC), i.e., in patient care settings operating under a CLIA Certificate of Waiver, Certificate of Compliance, or Certificate of Accreditation. This test has been authorized only for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens. The emergency use of this test is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the declaration is terminated or authorization is revoked sooner.
Regulatory and Intended Use:
For Use under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Only. For prescription use only. For in vitro diagnostic use.