Centurion Canada Rentals & Services Offers Innovative Solution to Combat COVID-19
This fall a second wave of COVID-19 is spreading in communities across Canada and Centurion Canada Rentals & Services (Centurion CRS) – an integrated supplier of services for resource industries across western Canada – is pleased to continue our confidential coronavirus sewage surveillance service. This service can be combined and enhanced with a COVID-19 saliva screening service for Canadian workplaces to protect businesses, their people, and the communities in which they operate.
With the increase in number of community cases with coronavirus, the health system has focused on maintaining safety for the public. Centurion CRS is helping workplaces maintain a safe working environment when public testing is not available by identifying workplaces called TNC Zones (tested negative for COVID-19). Sewage surveillance testing offers critical information as a proactive early warning detection measure to assist with preventing outbreaks and closures.
Centurion CRS is part of Centurion Group, a global leader in the supply of critical services to the oil and gas, infrastructure, power, environmental and renewable energy industries in the U.S., Canada, UK and Europe, Caspian, South East Asia, and Australia. Since its inception in 2000, Centurion CRS has specialized in innovative technology solutions and rapid response for remote work camps and work sites. With the arrival of the pandemic, Centurion CRS started collaborating with, Discovery DNA, a leading Canadian genetics lab, to support rural communities and remote work sites. Discovery DNA uses a quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction testing method, which remains the gold standard for COVID-19 detection, and allows adaptation to testing methods to maintain testing capacity.
The Sewage Surveillance Process:
Analysing a 100 millilitre composite sample of raw sewage for the SARS-CoV-2 virus offers early warning detection for COVID-19 and can assess the strength of the virus depending on the prevalence of cases in the associated work camp. Also known as ‘pool testing’, sewage surveillance is a cost-effective way to test a small work camp to a large community with a single test. This test does not identify any individual virus carriers – maintaining individual anonymity– limited to a specific pool of people while providing safety information at the same time.
Using a dual testing strategy, first screening for COVID-19 in wastewater followed by individual testing, improves efficiency and minimizes cost. Centurion CRS completed the sewage surveillance lab testing through the University of Arizona in May and June to assist with the development of their testing program. The University of Arizona successfully prevented a COVID-19 outbreak in August by testing the raw sewage produced by the university dorms. The sample results came back positive.
As a second stage, the students were tested individually and two had confirmed asymptomatic cases. In essence, the Centurion CRS approach follows the same concept: a rapid pool testing of the entire camp population first and only as a second step the much more time consuming and costly individual testing.
Centurion CRS and our partner lab, Discovery DNA, are using a quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) -based test, performed at international standards using state-of-the-art technology at CDC and Health Canada specifications: RNA extracted from the wastewater sample is analyzed for the presence of SARS-CoV-2genes using the Real-Time Quantitative Reverse Transcription (qRT) -PCR assay. This technique duplicates a select sequence of genetic code through a series of chemical reactions and these reactions will recognize its genetic sequence and the probes will create a fluorescent signal, giving a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2.
The testing technology was piloted in spring with samples from wastewater treatment facilities at participating municipalities in south and central Alberta and Texas. To scientifically validate our methodology, samples were sent to three participating labs including two in the United States and our Canadian partner. Results ranged from negative for the virus to a spectrum of low strength to high strength signals for the virus. To the greatest extent possible, false positives can be eliminated with our procedure.
What Does a Positive Result Mean for a Work Site Employer?
A positive result indicates a clear presence of the virus in the work place. However, it does not necessarily mean that the virus is infectious. Based on Centurion CRS technical assistance, employers may elect to undertake any number of actions including ensuring that preventative measures like masks, and distancing are enforced. They may also choose to have workers tested at that time. Discovery DNA uses a more convenient self-administered saliva collection method. Saliva testing means employees can collect their own sample and avoid the unwanted experience of a swab collection or need for a health worker to collect the sample. The special saliva kit has an agent that neutralizes the virus immediately.
What Does a Negative Result Mean for a Work Site Employer?
A negative result can offer peace of mind. However, an employer should not use a negative result as validation to reduce their preventative measures. Ongoing sewage surveillance pool testing is intended to compliment public health guidelines.
As we navigate through a second wave of COVID-19, Centurion CRS is confident that this technology will allow Canadian businesses and communities to protect themselves, their people, and the communities in which they operate.
For more information on Centurion CRS, visit: https://centurioncrs.com/
About the Author
Martin Sellar Voll serves as Vice President Operations at WTS Rentals, one of the four companies that comprise Centurion Canada Rentals & Services. He has served in his position for seven years. Martin has worked for the company since 2007.