Local chamber executive director Diane Ellis said the first shipment of 48 boxes, each containing 25 rapid test kits for a total of 1,200 tests, arrived last week and are ready to be distributed to interested businesses. One local business has already signed up to participate and picked up 400 rapid test kits.
She said interested business managers can give her a call at the chamber office at 780-645-5820. She will then send them information about what exactly their participation in the program involves. There’s no cost associated with acquiring the test kits from the chamber but there is a commitment to following through with the program’s participation requirements.
Participating businesses are responsible for ensuring that anyone administering the test is adequately trained. Online training tools are available to assist with this.
“They have to choose somebody from the business who is going to constantly be administering these. They just put the little swab in the person's nose and then 15 minutes later they have the result. If it’s a positive result, then they have to go home and make an appointment to get a further test at the COVID testing centre.”
Each week the business is then required to provide information to the chamber regarding the number of tests they’ve performed and how many had a positive result and how many were confirmed by a follow-up PCR test with AHS. In turn, Ellis provides that information to AHS.
“Rapid antigen screening kits are not designed for definitive case testing,” the provincial government stated in announcing the partnership with Alberta’s chambers of commerce, described as the first of its kind in Western Canada. “Operators and employees who receive a positive result from their rapid test will not be able to return to work and must isolate. Anyone who receives a positive result is encouraged to schedule a follow-up PCR test.”
“This partnership between the Government of Alberta and participating community chambers of commerce will expedite and streamline the process for Alberta businesses, in particular small and medium enterprises. This will lead to more tests being administered and will hopefully contribute to stopping the spike,” Ken Kobly, president and CEO, Alberta Chambers of Commerce, said.
On the local front, Ellis sees it as an important way the organization can help in supporting businesses navigate through COVID.
“We want to help everybody flatten the curve and this is one small thing we can do for our businesses locally, then we’ll do it,” Ellis said.