Rapid Antigen Testing – Where To Buy?

About COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests

Rapid antigen testing is quick, easy and painless.

Workplaces can quickly test employees for COVID-19, with results within 10 minutes.

This offers a wealth of benefits in addition to standard PCR testing. This is due to the comfort and ease of rapid antigen testing versus the discomfort and time taken in PCR testing.
These tests are unquestionably becoming an effective tool in workplace safety, as part of New Zealand’s continual endeavours against COVID-19.

After undergoing a test in front of a qualified tester, results will come through within a few minutes. In the case of a negative result, the employee or test subject will continue work as usual. With a positive result, the employee can take immediate action by alerting the proper authorities and, above all, moving onto a PCR test.

Rapid antigen testing serves as another layer of protection on top of the current method of PCR testing. It also reduces testing discomfort and delays for all but those who test positive.

Buy COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests from Sober Check

Sober Check offers the CareStart COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test for all businesses who have a valid New Zealand Business Number, which provides access to the new and improved method of testing.
These tests have been Ministry of Health approved under notice 2021-GO5425, which falls under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Point-of-care Tests) Order 2021.

There aren’t many options for those looking to purchase tests on a scale to cover a whole workplace. However, for those looking to buy rapid antigen tests in NZ, look at Sober Check’s Pantonic CareStart tests. These come in packs of 20, perfectly suited to employers who are looking to quickly and easily test all employees of their business.

To buy rapid antigen tests in NZ, see below.

From Pharmacies for Domestic Travel

Rapid antigen tests are currently available from many pharmacies and medical centres. In addition, they are free for unvaccinated people travelling in New Zealand.
Contact your local pharmacy to see if they offer this service.

Pharmacies supervise these tests, which mean they are not practical for workplace testing.

PCR Tests for International Travel

Despite the advantages of rapid antigen testing, international travellers may still require a PCR test before flying. Find where you can get tested in NZ on the Ministry of Health website.

Drug testing court case review: Vulcan Steel, 2021

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Vulcan Steel Limited v Manufacturing & Construction Workers Union (2021) is an interesting case that was fought over urine drug testing vs oral fluid drug testing.

Vulcan Steel had the following clauses in their drug & alcohol policy.

3.3 Drug testing will utilise hair and/or urine and/or saliva test techniques, as outlined in the DASP.

8.3.1 Prior to undergoing a test, a test consent form will be signed by the employee consenting to the relevant method(s) of testing.

The Employment Relations Authority ruled that, as the policy stood, this gave employees the right to choose what form of testing they wanted.

Vulcan Steel made two mistakes in their policy:

  1. They weren’t specific. Decide what form of testing you will be using, and state this clearly. Don’t include additional forms of testing ‘in case we might need it in the future’ — this just adds more ways for the process to go wrong. If you are going to be using different forms of testing, be specific about what situations they will be used in. E.g:
    Example Company Ltd will use urine drug testing for pre-employment, random, and rehabilitation drug testing, and oral fluid drug testing for post-incident and reasonable cause drug testing.
    All urine drug testing will be conducted in accordance with AS/NZS 4308:2008 (or subsequent revisions).
    All oral fluid drug testing will be conducted in accordance with AS/NZS 4760:2019 (or subsequent revisions).
    All alcohol testing will be conducted with a breathalyser verified to AS 3547:2019 (or subsequent revisions).
  2. Their policy was too prescriptive. Including more detail in a policy leaves more ways for it to go wrong. A drug testing policy should include enough detail for an employee to consent to this, but drug testing procedures should be in an entirely separate document unrelated to the policy.
    A policy should cover what (this is what we’ll be doing), and procedures should cover how (this is the process we go through when we carry out drug testing).

How adulteration works

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Let’s talk about adulteration in drug testing (also known as cheating).

It’s a commonly used concept to refer to three different types:

  • substitution — using someone else’s urine, synthetic urine, or a different substance altogether.
  • dilution — diluting the urine sample so the levels of drugs present drop below the cut-off level. The dilution can be in vivo (drinking excessive amounts of water) or in vitro (adding water to the urine).
  • addition — adding substances to the urine sample to prevent the drugs from being detected.

The way to prevent substitution is through your drug testing procedures: check the person isn’t carrying any containers or bags of liquid, ask the person to pat themselves down and to take off any heavy jackets or clothing items that can hide containers, and make it difficult for a liquid to be transferred if a container is smuggled through.

To catch dilution, the urine sample needs to be analysed to see if it matches the characteristics of a normal urine sample. In addition, the environment should be prepared to make it impossible to dilute a sample: drop a blueing tablet in the toilet cistern to prevent water being scooped into the cup, tape up any taps inside the room, tape windows closed to prevent water being passed in from outside.

To catch addition, the process is similar for dilution. The urine sample needs to be inspected and analysed to see if it matches the characteristics of a normal urine, and your drug testing procedures need to make adulteration difficult to achieve. Get the person to wash their hands before testing to remove any substance on their hands/under their fingernails, and stay alert for any signs adulteration is being use

Urine testing cups have an adulteration panel. They will test for a combination of the following adulterant indicators (a good cup will have most or all):

  1. Creatinine (required by the AS/NZS 4308 standard)
  2. pH
  3. Oxidants (may be named Bleach)
  4. Nitrites
  5. Specific Gravity
  6. Glutaraldehyde
  7. Pyridinium Chlorochromate

Stay tuned to our email newsletter, we will cover the meaning of each adulterant indicator, what substances are used to cheat, and procedures for detecting and preventing substitution and dilution.

Alcohol testing measurements

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Different countries around the world use different measures of alcohol in breath.

In New Zealand, we use micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath: in a given litre of breath, how many micrograms (one millionth of a gram) of alcohol does the breath contain?

The symbol for this is μg/L. The current drink drive limit is 250 μg/L, and the DIC (criminal) limit is 400 μg/L.

Most company policies state cut-offs of 0 μg/L or 100 μg/L, with 0 μg/L being the most common.

New Zealand is fairly unusual, using μg/L. The only other countries around the world that use this are Botswana and the Netherlands!

The alternative that we see most often is grams of alcohol per two hundred and ten litres of breath: in two hundred and ten litres of breath, how many grams of alcohol does the breath contain? This is commonly used in Australia and America.

The abbreviation for this is g/210L. In this measurement, our current drink drive limit is 0.052 g/210L, and the DIC limit is 0.083 g/210L.

The updated standard for breathalysers, AS 3547:2019, specifies that breathalysers should measure in g/210L. This is a real pain for New Zealand – we have built up intuition over years of testing that 20 μg/L is a low result and 500 μg/L is a high result. That intuition suddenly no longer applies when being faced with readings like 0.0042 g/210L and 0.105 g/210L!

It remains to be seen how New Zealand will respond to this standard: whether we adopt it entirely and switch measurement units, or whether we adopt it in part and keep using μg/L.

If our measurement ends up changing, the magic number to convert between measurements and get an approximate result is 4,762. To get from μg/L to g/210L, divide by 4,762:

250 μg/L ÷ 4,762 = 0.052 g/210L.

To get from g/210L to μg/L, multiply by 4,762:

0.08 g/210L × 4,762 = 380 μg/L.

Drug testing devices need to be room temperature

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Drug testing relies on reactions between antibodies (on the test strip) and antigens (in the sample, the substance being tested for).

At a lower temperature, reactions occur slower, or not at all.

If your cups are cold you will get inconsistent results, often: panels failing to run, weak/patchy lines, or colours failing to appear on the temperature strip.

Make sure your cups are warm before testing!

For storage, store your cups in a warm office or cupboard, at the temperature range the manufacturer suggests. This is usually from 2°C – 30°C.

When using a cup, the temperature range is smaller. Follow the manufacturer recommendations, usually this is from 15°C – 30°C.

Cold warehouses and vehicles can present a challenge in winter to keep cups at an ideal temperature, but a bit of planning can eliminate these concerns. Have enough cups stored in the office for a few days of testing (plus a some extras for those last minute requests!).

Cups should be stored in an insulated room overnight, as the minimum — a couple of hours in a warm office is not going to be enough to warm up really cold cups, as they’re fairly well insulated in their foil wraps.

Whoops – I ran a test and suspect the the cup was too cold. What can I do?

If you think you have an abnormal result you can test again.

If you’re using a split cup (like the Medix Pro-Split cup), the portion of the sample being tested is split off from the rest of the sample. You can pour the rest of the sample into a new, warmer cup, and repeat the test.

If you’re using a screw top cup (like the MicroScreen cup), ask the donor to give another sample.

As always, these cups are a screening test only. If in doubt after testing again, send the sample to a laboratory for confirmation.

Alcohol interlock devices are provided by Smart Start Interlocks

Sober Check was the exclusive distributor for Smart Start Inc. (the leading alcohol interlock providers) from 2010 onwards.

We worked extensively with government in getting the law changed to mandate alcohol interlock devices for repeat drink drivers — changing behaviour and keeping the roads safer for all.

This involved setting up an extensive network of auto-electricians around the country to install and service. This network covers from Kaitaia to Invercargill, and everywhere in between.

In 2016, Minister Craig Foss announced that the interlock legislation covering this would be changing.

Installation of alcohol interlocks changed from being discretionary, to being mandatory for repeat drink drivers.
This covers people who have been charged with drink driving twice or more within the previous five years, or twice over the limit on their first time.

In 2017, this was split off into a separate company: Smart Start Interlocks — separating drinking from driving.
Since then, over 10,000 drink drive attempts have been prevented!

You contact Smart Start Interlocks on:

If you’ve been sentenced to an alcohol interlock, we recommend you call the Smart Start Interlocks team on 0800 002 182. They are experienced at discussing the particulars of your situation, and giving you the information you need to get to the next stage of your sentence.

Voluntary alcohol interlocks are also common. These are useful where you are afraid that you, or someone else, is at risk of driving while under the influence.
Installing an alcohol interlock in your vehicle makes this physically impossible.
It is also a great way to retrain behaviour that has been learnt over many years — changing “have a drink, go for a drive” to “have a drink, try to go for a drive, ask someone else for a ride”.

Alternately, if you’re after an alcohol breathalyser for personal use, we’d recommend the Lifeloc FC10 breathalyser or the DriveSafe exec breathalyser.

Picture of an alcohol interlock device