Over 2000 COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Screening Kits already distributed through Quinte West Chamber of Commerce initiative and expanding soon with the Belleville and Prince Edward County Chambers of Commerce
Quinte West, ON: Since launching last week, the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce has signed up 35 businesses to the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative, a program in partnership with the Ontario and Canadian government to provide free rapid antigen tests to small and medium-sizes businesses. This program is open to all businesses under 150 employees in the region and is focused on essential workers and others that need to come into the workplace.
The Quinte West Mayor, Jim Harrison, joined Suzanne Andrews, the CEO of the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce to learn firsthand how easy it is to self-administer one of these rapid tests and was walked through the training available to local businesses so they can use it to screen employees.
“We are pleased to support the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce in their effort to provide local businesses with free rapid testing kits,” says Harrison. “This will be instrumental in preventing the spread of COVID-19 within the community.”
The City of Quinte West has sponsored the Rapid Antigen Screening program and is going to cover the costs of the biohazard pick up from the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce by Stericycle. This will allow businesses to return the used test pads and test tubes back to the Chamber in a biomedical container for proper collection and disposal. This will make it much easier for businesses; and ensure that the waste generated from this program stays out of the landfill and will be incinerated in accordance with provincial guidelines.
“We have been thrilled with the uptake of this program in our community,” states Andrews. “Businesses are signing up because the agreement, training and reporting is done through the Quinte West Chamber and they appreciate the fact that we have made it quick and simple for them.”
To create an easy to navigate reporting system, SMEs will not be required to provide any Government or Public Health reporting. Businesses will instead report through the Chamber portal on the number of tests they have completed that week and the number of positive, negative and inclusive results. During the screening process, any employees with a positive or inconclusive result will need to leave the workplace and arrange for a PCR Test at a local testing site. Once they receive a negative result, they can return to work.
The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative helps identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed. These tests are considered very accurate and are a fantastic screening tool for the workplaces that does not require a medical professional, as any employee can be trained to supervise the tests once they watch the Ministry video at the Chamber.
Small to medium-sized businesses are encouraged to visit www.quintewestchamber.ca/rapidtests to learn more about the program, and to utilize the website as a one-stop-shop. Once logged in, businesses can sign their agreements, watch the training video, place their orders and complete their reporting in one place. Screening kits can be scheduled for pickup on Tuesday and Thursdays at the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce building at 97 Front Street, Trenton.
The Belleville Chamber of Commerce has placed their first order based on interest expressed from 21 different employers and expect to begin distribution of the RA Test kits by Wednesday, May 26. Belleville businesses who have not yet reached out are welcome to do so at https://bellevillechamber.ca/rapidtests
The Prince Edward County Chamber of Commerce has interest expressed from 23 different employers and expect to begin distribution of the RA Test kits next week. PEC businesses who would like to participate in the program are encouraged to complete an expression of interest form here: https://www.pecchamber.com/rapidtesting