COVID-19 Rapid Tests available to CK businesses

(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / iDesign)

Small and medium sized businesses in Chatham-Kent will be able to take part in a COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

The Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, as well as provincial and federal governments for the initiative.

Free rapid tests will be available to local businesses with 150 employees or less.

The CK Chamber of Commerce said the purpose behind the initiative is to identify asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in the workplace.

“We hope that through this program, we will be able to curb the spread and reopen our local economy safely and in a timely fashion,” said CK Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gail Hundt.

A designate from participating businesses will be in charge of picking up test kits and supervising self-screening collection. The specified person will also receive training on how to properly supervise and dispose of used kits. It’s recommended that staff screenings are done twice per week and results will be submitted electronically.

If a preliminary positive for COVID-19 is identified, the employee will be required to self-isolate and schedule a PCR Test within 24 hours at an assessment site.

The Ontario government recently amended the Employment Standards Act to provide workers with up to three days of paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons, which include awaiting the results of a test. NDP leader Andrea Horwath said the legislation was too little too late.

The Rapid Screening Initiative launched in the Waterloo region. The CK Chamber of Commerce said in a media release that up to 30,000 essential workers are able to receive regular screening in the Waterloo region through the initiative.

“Rapid testing is one of the key ways to keep workplaces as safe as possible during the pandemic as we wait for vaccinations to roll out,” said Ontario Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rocco Rossi. “Over 760,000 rapid tests will be going out to communities across Ontario with 28 of our chambers participating in rolling this program out.”

Businesses that are interested in the initiative will soon be able to order a two-week supply of rapid tests through the chamber’s website. A specific date for the rollout has not yet been identified. Small and medium businesses will also have the opportunity to pick up tests at the Fantastic Greetings building at 920 Richmond Street in Chatham by appointment only.