Rapid Testing Expansion AnnouncementPublished on May 10, 2021
Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade has announced that the Ontario government has launched a new rapid testing portal to make it easier for all essential businesses to access free rapid testing to help keep employees and their families safe. Through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program, Ontario has already delivered more than nine million rapid testing kits to nearly 1,600 workplaces. Test shipments to essential businesses have more than tripled since the beginning of April.
Businesses are encouraged to participate in the program by registering at ontario.ca/testingonsite. It provides free rapid antigen screening kits to help screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 that might otherwise be missed. It is one more way that businesses can help workers and their families stay safe and keep the virus out of workplaces. Program eligibility was recently expanded to include any business that is allowed to be open and requires staff to work on-site.
The recent launch of a rapid testing initiative run jointly by the Ontario government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has already proved to be successful. In just two weeks, Ontario has received orders for more than 850,000 rapid tests and is quickly delivering them to small and medium-sized businesses in more than 40 communities across the province.
As the results of positive PCR tests are already reported to local public health units (PHUs) through the provincial lab network, the Ministry of Health is updating program requirements so organizations providing rapid antigen screening will no longer have to report preliminary positive results to PHUs, nor will they be required to report results of confirmatory lab-based PCR tests to the province. These changes will help encourage greater use of rapid testing by reducing the administrative burden and implementation barriers for all organizations and workplaces, while still maintaining strong public health and safety measures.
Rapid antigen point-of-care testing goes hand in hand with public health measures, such as symptom screening, physical distancing, masking, and hand hygiene. Any positive results from a rapid antigen point-of-care test must be confirmed with laboratory-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.
COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
In partnership with the federal government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Ontario has launched the voluntary COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative for small- to medium-sized businesses across the province.
The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small- and medium-sized businesses in Newmarket-Aurora through participating local chambers of commerce and other organizations. The program will help detect cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to keep workers and their families safe and businesses open.
This important measure, especially due to the high rate of transmission of COVID-19 variants will help maintain business continuity, productivity, support overall economic recovery, and keep people safer at the workplace.
To contact participating local chambers of commerce and boards of trade about the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative, visit the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
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