The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario and Canadian governments, have launched the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative. Through this initiative, the Thunder Bay Chamber will provide free rapid tests for small- and medium-sized businesses in the community.
“Public health and the health of our economy are intertwined. That is why our chamber is proud to distribute rapid tests to our small businesses. We hope that through this program, we will be able to curb the spread and reopen our local economy safely,” said Charla Robinson, President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.
The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses. Businesses (including non-chamber members) with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in this program. The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and around the community in Thunder Bay.
“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. It will be an essential part of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities so that we can get on the path to economic recovery faster,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Over 760,000 rapid tests will be going out to communities across Ontario with 28 of our chambers participating in rolling this program out.”
Interested SMEs can go to www.tbchamber.ca/rapidtest to sign up for the program and order their two-week supply of rapid tests.
Special thanks to our generous sponsors Port of Thunder Bay and Impala Canada and supporters Intercity Industrial Supply and Hi-Impact Signs for their assistance with location and logistics.
The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative was first successfully piloted in the Waterloo region by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Communitech, the Government of Ontario and Government of Canada. Through this pilot, the chambers have delivered 120,000 kits to nearly 1,400 businesses in the region. This means that up to 30,000 employees in essential workplaces are receiving regular screening twice weekly in the Waterloo region alone. The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative builds upon the success of this existing program and delivers tests into the hands of small and medium-sized businesses across the province.
The Thunder Bay Chamber has set up a Rapid Antigen Test Kit pick-up centre at 100 Main Street by appointment. A designate from each SME, responsible for supervising the self-screening collection onsite, will be required to attend the site for the initial pick-up. Each SME will be recommended to screen staff twice weekly.
If a rapid test results in a preliminary positive for COVID-19, the employee will be required to leave the workplace, arrange for a PCR Test within 24 hours at the Thunder Bay COVID-19 Assessment Centre, and self-isolate until a confirmatory test result is received.
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