Napier Port surveillance saliva PCR testing begins
On Monday 22 November, Napier Port began rollout of its regular, on port saliva PCR testing using Ubiquitome’s SalivaDirect Liberty16 mobile real time PCR unit.
Napier Port will be one of the first non-health sector businesses in New Zealand to implement this technology.
Saliva PCR is early detection, which means COVID-19 can be picked up before anyone becomes contagious.
Napier Port has around 320 employees who will be tested every two days with same day results*. With this rate of testing, there is a reasonable likelihood that Napier Port will identify cases which we will support and liaise with public health for verification.
Chief Executive Todd Dawson said “We are doing this to keep everyone at Napier Port safe. Our people can come to work confident that they, and their colleagues, do not have the virus and it’s reassuring to know that we’re not taking the virus home.
“In August, it became clear Delta would be almost impossible to contain and we began preparing for how to keep our people safe, and our port operational, with Covid-19 in the community. We consulted with our people to strengthen our segregation and access processes, implemented mandatory vaccinations for all workers (not just the frontline) and prioritised how we could do our own saliva testing on port that was accurate, reliable and compatible with public health,” said Mr Dawson.
In September, Napier Port procured a testing unit and progressed technical training and understanding of how to implement this appropriately. Two specialist medical roles were recruited to manage the process and carry out the testing in a mini-lab on port.
Todd Dawson heaped praise on Napier Port’s workforce for how they have got behind vaccinations and testing.
“Our people have been amazing, not only running an incredibly busy port and being on the frontline of Covid-19 for the past 18 months, but right throughout our consultation, taking part in risk assessments, workshops and encouraging each other. Our team take huge pride in connecting Hawke’s Bay and keeping Napier Port operating for our customers and community” he said.
Chief Executive Todd Dawson said the next steps for Napier Port was rolling out mandatory vaccination for anyone entering Napier Port and getting booster vaccines for employees.
“Many of our team were vaccinated early on, so we are looking forward to booster vaccinations becoming available soon. We will run a vaccination clinic to support this, the same way we did with testing and vaccinations over the past 18 months” Mr Dawson said.
* This surveillance testing will not replace official public health testing – or testing of border workers under border orders – but it will provide us with an added layer of protection to help us minimise any potential spread of COVID-19 at Napier Port.
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About Napier Port
Napier Port is New Zealand’s fourth largest port by container volume. We are the main gateway for Hawke’s Bay exports and operate a long-term regional infrastructure asset that supports the regional economy. Our strategic purpose is to collaborate with the people and organisations that have a stake in helping our region grow.
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