Case Study

LumiraDx SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Supports Operational Readiness of Fire Brigades in Lower Austria

 LumiraDx SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Supports Operational Readiness of Fire Brigades in Lower Austria
Fire brigades operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fire brigades operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

In Lower Austria, about 1,700 volunteer fire brigades with about 99,000 members ensure the safety of about two million inhabitants. In the Gänserndorf district fire brigade, Dr. Florian Imböck works as a district fire brigade physician, looking after the daily medical needs of the 5,000 members on duty. Operating in the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for the fire brigades and their members, and despite the introduction of rigorous hygiene standards and service instructions for the fire brigade emergency forces, maintaining the operational readiness of the volunteer members is an on-going task, and to help, SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests have been routinely used since 2020.

"Regular testing of members with the SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test is another important factor in achieving a sense of security for emergency forces and their families, and thus maintaining operational readiness."

SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing ahead of every emergency forces meeting

SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing ahead of every emergency forces meeting

To ensure the operational readiness of the fire brigades and to protect the emergency forces and their families, Dr. Florian Imböck started a project that was, at that time, unique in Austria. Due to the limited availability of PCR testing and long waiting times for their results, Dr. Imböck organized an evaluation of suitable antigen test methods. As a result, the Lower Austrian Fire Brigade Association decided that entry into their Fire and Safety Center and the premises of the Regional Fire Brigade Command would only be possible after a negative on-site antigen testing result. 
The LumiraDx SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test has since been used to test firefighters and contact persons who may have been asymptomatic for COVID-19 ahead of any meeting of members of the Lower Austrian Firefighters Association. This procedure allows the identification of already infectious firefighters, and their contact persons.

"The decision to use the LumiraDx Platform and the SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test was based not only on the high accuracy of the test, but also on the ease of use of the system. The result is displayed by the device as positive or negative without interpretation."

Conclusions

The SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test delivers highly sensitive results in 12 minutes. The experience of the fire brigades in Lower Austria suggests that all emergency services organizations as well as healthcare and care workers could benefit from regular testing with the SARS-CoV-2 antigen immunofluorescence assay.