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PI introduces voluntary COVID-19 rapid testing to help keep on-site staff safe

Suraya SalehMarketing Communications Manager

Planet Innovation is taking another step in providing a safe working environment for on-site staff by introducing voluntary COVID-19 rapid antigen testing at our Australian facility.

The tests, which are conducted by a registered nurse, are being run on the Sofia 2 analyzer, an instrument that is manufactured at PI’s Melbourne facility for US-based diagnostic company Quidel.

Results are returned in just 15 minutes, with the data securely managed by a software solution developed by PI’s digital division.

Planet Innovation CEO Stuart Elliott said that while most of PI’s 350+ staff were working from home, there were some roles, primarily in our manufacturing division, that required employees to be in the office.

“The introduction of this voluntary testing means that people can be on-site knowing with 99% accuracy that they are not an asymptomatic COVID case and that they are not inadvertently passing it on to their co-workers or families when back home,” Stuart said.

“This is about peace of mind as well as safety. It does not replace lab-based testing, quite the opposite, we want anyone who has symptoms or who has been to an exposure site to stay home and get tested at a Government site.”

“The take-up among staff has been strong so far, so I hope that our success encourages other companies, no matter what size, to follow our lead and offer testing for asymptomatic staff.”

PI receptionist Laurissa Moody is one of the staff members who has signed up for testing.

“Working in the health industry, I think it’s my obligation to myself and my colleagues to do all I can to ensure it’s a safe environment to work in,” Laurissa said.

“Also on a personal level, I have young kids and I don’t want to take the virus home to them. So it’s fantastic to be able to get that reassurance by having the option to get tested here at PI.”

PI's Laurissa Moody getting tested and Dusanka Zuza in production.

Receptionist Laurissa Moody getting tested (left) and Dusanka Zuza in production (right).

Assembly Technician Team Leader Dusanka Zuza also supported the move, saying it offered peace of mind for production staff who attend the office daily.

“I’m very excited about it, I was the first one who put my name down to be tested for all available dates,” Dusanka said.

“PI already has a lot of COVID safety measures in place, but having the test gives you much more confidence that when you come to work you’re not spreading the virus to your team, and when you go home you’re not spreading it to your family.”

She added that having overseen the manufacture of about 60,000 units of the Sofia 2, she was excited to be able to use it herself.

“It’s great knowing we’re doing something that will help people in the pandemic. It makes you feel good and proud,” Dusanka said.

This is not the first time PI has used a product manufactured at its Melbourne facility to help keep staff safe during the pandemic. Since last year, PI has been using SteraMist, a decontamination product manufactured at PI for TOMI Environmental Solutions, to disinfect shared spaces and common touch points at its Melbourne offices.

Stuart said: “It’s great to be able to use so many PI-manufactured products and PI innovations to help keep our people safe.”

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Suraya Saleh Marketing Communications Manager

Suraya is the Marketing Communications Manager at Planet Innovation. A former journalist, Suraya is passionate about telling engaging stories for brands that have a positive impact on the world.

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