IDM Südtirol - Alto Adige

South Tyrol is testing

South Tyrol has made great efforts over the past few weeks to become one of the safest regions. Tourism has taken its responsibility within this context seriously and is making a significant contribution. Many workers and guests in the tourism sector come from other regions of Italy and countries; moreover, family members and staff in accommodation facilities are constantly in direct contact with guests through their bar and restaurant establishments.

The precondition for enhancing safety is a testing system for all business owners, working family members and staff in accommodation, bars and restaurant establishments. The purpose of this is to reduce infections to a minimum or avoid them wherever possible. This testing system will enable any occurring in-fections to be immediately identified so that businesses as a whole and the people working or staying in them can be protected.

South Tyrol is launching an initial round of tests over the coming 4-6 weeks to en-sure a very high level of safety and convey the message that the great majority of business owners and staff were tested before opening and that further testing will follow. These tests contribute significantly to increased safety in our region, which is proven to be one of the most important considerations for choosing a holiday destination.

Determining the number of tests required

In order to prepare sufficient tests and the necessary personnel and infrastructure for the testing period, the first step is to determine how many people will want to undergo testing. For this purpose we invite you to take part in the following survey. Participation does not constitute an obligation to take the test. We ask you however to provide information that is as accurate as possible, to enable us to efficiently plan resources for the testing period.

Every person tested is important and contributes to safety. However tourism opera-tors and staff are requested to ensure that at least 50% of all those eligible take the test. If this number is not reached then no testing will be carried.

Why is testing important?

  • South Tyrol’s tourism operators are taking responsibility and providing for safety in our region through extensive testing. They help ensure that South Tyrol becomes and remains one of the safest tourist destinations and that the local population, staff and guests feel safe.
  • The businesses protect their employees and guests and at the same time lower economic risk.
  • So any possibly infected persons can be immediately identified and isolated in order to reduce or prevent spreading.
  • No cost is involved for businesses or employees; the tests are free of charge, simple and straightforward.
  • It is extremely important for all of us to know whether we have had the corona-virus. It is believed that more than 90% of us have not yet contracted the virus, but we need to be certain in order to safely move around and work in safety.
  • It is important for all of us and our families and extremely important for all economic activities, especially those in the tourist industry. Therefore a very high testing rate is crucial to success.

Who is being tested?

  • Business owners, working family members and staff of commercial and non-commercial accommodation facilities as well as bars and restaurants. The persons to be tested must be of legal age. Exceptions are apprentices and trainees.
  • Though blanket testing is recommended, testing is carried out individually on a voluntary basis.
  • Persons being tested must be asymptomatic, in other words be apparently healthy. They must present no symptoms of health problems such as fever, a cough, sore throat, diarrhoea or vomiting.
  • People arriving for testing must wear a protective mouth and nose covering.
  • Persons who are in quarantine must not appear in a test area. Since 3 June 2020, the quarantine obligation for entry into Italy from the following countries has been lifted:
    • EU Member States;
    • countries of the Schengen area;
    • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland;
    • Andorra, Principality of Monaco, Republic of San Marino and Vatican City State.
    Please note: persons from other countries, on the other hand, are obliged to report their entry immediately to the competent service for hygiene and public health and must remain in domestic isolation for 14 days.

How is the test carried out?
  • Businesses and employees can simply register, choose an appointment time to take the test and receive the test results easily, free of charge and anonymously.
  • Only the person tested receives the test result; data protection regulations are complied with.
  • Testing is carried out by means of a rapid serological test (by the company ALL TEST), i.e. by means of a drop of blood, which is pressed from the finger and applied to a test strip along with a control liquid. The result is ready after about 15 minutes, and can be any of the following:
    • negative for IgG, negative for IgM, i.e. the worker is healthy or in a very early stage of infection and has not yet built any antibodies.
    • positive for IgG, negative for IgM, i.e. there has been contact with a virus and antibodies are present. An oropharyngeal swab must be performed for PCR testing.
    • positive for IgG, positive for IgM, i.e. the worker is in the middle of or at the end of the infection and depending on the window period may be contagious. An oropharyngeal swab must be performed for PCR testing.
    • negative for IgG, positive for IgM, i.e. the worker is in an early stage of infection and depending on the window period may be contagious. An oropharyngeal swab must be performed for PCR testing.
    • Result not valid because, for example, insufficient blood was drawn.
  • The tested person is notified immediately of the result.
  • Only the person tested receives the test result.

What happens if the test result is negative?
  • If the result is negative, the person can go about his or her normal activities and be considered healthy. It is recommended to monitor people’s health on an on-going basis by periodically measuring their temperature in the workplace.

What happens if the test result is positive?
  • If the test result is positive for IgG and/or IgM, the person can continue to go about his or her normal daily activities, but is instructed to wear gloves and a surgical mask.
  • If the test result is positive for IgG and/or IgM, a notification is sent automatically to the health authorities, who will within a very short time carry out an oropharyngeal PCR test (swab). This provides information about whether the person is an active virus carrier.
  • Until a definitive test result is obtained by means of a PCR test, all workers are instructed to comply with general precautionary measures, i.e. wearing gloves and surgical masks, maintaining distance, frequent hand washing, etc.
  • The person is considered infected and must undergo a quarantine period of at least two weeks only if the PCR test carried out by the health authorities results positive. Necessary safety measures will be carried out in the environment. The person must have a total of two negative PCR tests before returning to work (in accordance with the health authority protocol).

When is testing carried out?
  • The first phase of testing starts around mid June and will last for about one month. Further rounds of testing will follow.

Where are tests carried out?
  • Tests will be carried out in 15 to 20 locations in South Tyrol, which optimally cover the catchment area.
  • The tourism associations have organised suitable premises and are helping with the organisational measures at local level.

How are people informed?
  • Businesses are informed of the tests being carried out in their catchment area and notify the tourism association of the number of people to be tested. They can choose their time slot according to availability.
  • The people who are tested sign a declaration of consent and a data protection declaration for the test.

How much do the tests cost?
  • The tests are free of charge for people taking them.

How many people need to take the test for safety to be enhanced?
  • Every tested person is important and contributes to safety, which is why all tourism operators and their staff are called on to be tested.

Who carries out the tests?
  • The tests are carried out by mobile White Cross South Tyrol teams.
  • Testing is being carried out under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Franzoni on behalf of the health authorities of the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol.
  • Responsibility lies with the health authorities of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano and the White Cross, who already have experience of running series of tests.

Who sees the test results?
  • Only the person tested receives the test result; data protection regulations are complied with.

Why should people be tested?

  • The tests provide each person with information about whether they have already come into contact with the virus and have antibodies.
  • If the test is positive, a PCR test will be carried out within a short time by the health authorities, which will provide information about whether the person is currently infected with the virus or not.
  • The test is free of charge for persons taking it.

How reliable are the rapid antibody tests?

The reliability of the CE-certified rapid test of the company ALL TEST results in the following values:
  • IgG results:
    Relative sensitivity: 100% (95% CI*: 86.0% - 100%)
    Relative specificity: 98.0% (95% CI*: 89.4% - 99.9%)
    Accuracy: 98.6% (95% CI*: 92.3% - 99.96%)

    IgM results:
    Relative sensitivity: 85% (95% CI*: 62.1% - 96.8%)
    Relative specificity: 96.0% (95% CI*: 86.3% - 99.5%)
    Accuracy: 92.9% (95% CI*: 84.1% - 97.6%)

Must a business be closed if the test result is positive?

  • If a positive test result is obtained, the measures according to the protocol of the first-aid centre will take effect. The hygiene service will carry out the necessary analysis, which can be individual and different depending on the situation. The hygiene service is responsible for the steps and measures to be taken. The closure of a business depends on the situation and the analysis of the environment.

How long is the test result valid?
  • The test result is a snapshot. It is recommended, especially when symptoms are present, to undergo a test to detect covid infection and thus prevent the spread of the virus.

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