Ontario Dramatically Ramping Up Delivery of Rapid Test Kits
Over 12 Million Rapid Antigen Screening Tests Now Shipped Across the Province
TORONTO – Ontario has now delivered 12.3 million rapid antigen test kits for COVID-19 to over 2,600 work sites across the province. The effort is helping businesses and other organizations keep employees and their families safe by helping keep the virus out of their workplaces.
“Giving businesses access to rapid tests kits quickly while streamlining program and reporting requirements is allowing them to manage testing on-site with ease and helping stop the virus before it gets into the workplace,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “We urge businesses who want to stop the spread, stay open, and save lives to order kits today.”
A recent success of the antigen screening program came with the involvement of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. Less than a month after the launch of its COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative, Ontario has shipped nearly 2.4 million kits to local chambers. These kits will help small and medium-sized businesses across the province stay safe and stay open.
“Rapid test screening for small and medium-sized businesses is a key tool to help keep businesses open and workers safe,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “For essential businesses that are allowed to stay open and require staff to be on-site, rapid antigen screening at the workplace can give peace of mind and ensure operations continue steadily and safely in businesses across Ontario, and especially in hotspot areas.”
Businesses are encouraged to get their own rapid antigen screening kits by contacting their local chamber of commerce or by registering at ontario.ca/testingonsite.
“Our staff feel that we, as an employer, really do care about their wellbeing and see the Provincial Antigen Screening Program as a positive way to do their part, not only for the company, but for their families and communities as well,” said Christopher Stone, Health Safety and Disability Specialist at Ross Video. “From a public health standpoint, the more active participants that are enrolled in the program, the better the outcomes are for all of us.”
Rapid antigen screening 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.
“Rapid testing is a critical part of curbing the spread of COVID-19, contributing to the safe reopening of our economy. As the indispensable partner of business, we are incredibly proud of the more than 100 chambers of commerce and boards of trade that have quickly mobilized to put free rapid screening kits into the hands of business across Ontario in partnership with the Province, Health Canada, Communitech, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Almost 100 chambers are supporting this important program with additional distribution sites opening each week,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
A COVID-19 rapid screening test can be performed anywhere (e.g., on-site, at the place of employment) and does not require shipping a specimen to a lab for processing. It takes about 15 minutes to yield a result.
Rapid antigen screening does not replace public health measures, such as symptom screening, physical distancing, masking and hand hygiene. Any positive results from a rapid antigen screening test must be confirmed with laboratory-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.
Organizations participating in the Provincial Antigen Screening Program can search for a service provider offering point-of-care rapid testing services through a directory on the Ontario Together website. Service providers offering point-of-care COVID-19 testing services can also apply to be listed.
Businesses with fewer than 150 employees may be able to pick up antigen screening tests at participating local chambers of commerce, through a program run jointly by the Ontario government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. If a local chamber is not participating, businesses can access tests at ontario.ca/testingonsite.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect the people of Ontario from COVID-19.