Workplaces encouraged to sign up for rapid COVID-19 testing kits

© Can Stock Photo / vitaliymateha

The Ontario government has opened an online portal so essential businesses can order free rapid testing kits and find a service provider to conduct it.

It claims it has already delivered more than nine million kits to nearly 1,600 workplaces. Shipments to essential businesses have also more than tripled since the start of April, but the government hopes more will come on board, specifically those with fewer than 150 employees.

“We’re asking every business that’s able to be open, and particularly those in hot spots, to participate in Ontario’s COVID-19 Provincial Antigen Screening Program,” said Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli.

The kits are for screening asymptomatic infections in the workplace that otherwise might go unnoticed.

“As we continue to vaccinate more Ontarians, testing remains a key component of Ontario’s pandemic response,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.

Organizations that use the kits will not have to report preliminary positive results to public health units and the province but will have to have them confirmed by a lab.

“These need to be validated using the PCR testing, so any time these tests come back positive, it needs to go for PCR testing,” said Windsor-Essex Medical Officer of Health, Doctor Wajid Ahmed. “The final result will be reported to public health.”

The kits are not intended to replace other public health measures such as social distancing, hand washing, or wearing a mask.

“You have to have a good system in place of screening, assessment, people staying home when they’re not feeling well, and the workplaces have all these infection control measures in place,” added Ahmed.

The rapid screening test can be performed anywhere and takes about 15 minutes.