COVID-19 Rapid Screening Program Launching in Windsor-Essex
Local business owners now have access to an additional tool in the fight against COVID-19 as the Windsor-Essex, Leamington District, and Amherstburg Chambers of Commerce announced the roll-out of the StaySafe™ rapid antigen screening program that aims to put rapid COVID-19 antigen screening kits in the hands of small- and medium-sized businesses free of charge. 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.
Business owners can now place orders for screening kits through WEStaySafe.ca. Four pick-up locations will be available in Essex County. The kits will be offered free of cost thanks to the Federal and Provincial governments.
This approach will allow people to self-swab using a COVID-19 rapid antigen point-of-care screening test under the supervision of a trained person.
Screening with rapid tests provides an extra layer of defenseagainst the spread of the virus by identifying people who are not showing symptoms of infection but maybe carrying COVID-19 into their workplaces and communities. These initiatives are an important tool for detecting cases of COVID-19 but are not a substitute for current safety protocols including physical distancing, wearing a mask, hand washing, and staying home if sick.
Information on how businesses can place orders for the screening kits, as well as further information on how to protect staff and customers from the spread of COVID-19, can be found through WEStaySafe.ca.
“Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade have been indispensable resources in their communities since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Public health and the health of our economy are interdependent. That is why our Chambers are proud to distribute rapid tests to small businesses in Essex County. We hope that through this program, we will be able to curb the spread and reopen our local economy safely.”
Rakesh Naidu, President, and CEO – Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce
“This Rapid Test Kit will provide peace of mind to our business employers and their employees. We felt it was important to recognize our Business Community and Agribusinesses in Leamington and Kingsville and thus there will be 2 locations that will be distributing the kits – Leamington Half Century Centre and OGVG.”
Wendy Parsons, General Manager – Leamington District Chamber of Commerce
“Since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, Amherstburg, Windsor-Essex, and Leamington Chambers have collaborated to support the business communities of the Windsor-Essex region. Our Chambers have taken a regional approach in providing multiple pick-up locations for the rapid antigen testing kits. Ensuring that all of our small to medium size businesses have access to the tools and resources they need to safely remain open and help contribute to flattening the curve of this pandemic. Our Chambers will continue to support our businesses while contributing to the overall well-being of our communities.”
Nika Laurin, President – Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce
“Today is an example of what we can do when the people of Windsor-Essex and people of Ontario & Canada come together. With the support of FedDev Ontario, made possible by the Digital Main Street – Future Proof Community Collaboration Project, WEtech Alliance is excited to partner on the Windsor-Essex StaySafe™ rapid antigen screening program. This program is another tool to help us re-open our economy and keep it open.”
Yvonne Pilon, President & CEO, WEtech Alliance
“The battle against COVID-19 is being fought on many fronts, and we all have an important role to play. With vaccination efforts underway in our community, we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Program is an important support for small businesses and their employees and will lead to safer workplaces and less community transmission as we continue to work to defeat the virus. The City of Windsor is proud to have provided 1,000 cloth masks to the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce to support PPE needs for the volunteers who will staff the distribution sites in our region. I’m grateful to upper levels of government, the Chamber, WEtech Alliance, and all of the program partners for helping to bring this initiative to our community.”
Drew Dilkens, Windsor Mayor
“We are grateful to the local chambers of commerce for their involvement in this initiative. Rapid testing helps stop the spread of COVID-19, which we must do to end this pandemic. Our small and medium-sized businesses need this support to continue operating and keep workers safe.”
Gary McNamara, Warden for the County of Essex
- The StaySafe™ COVID-19 Rapid Screening Program is a collaboration with the Government of Ontario, the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Leamington District Chamber of Commerce, the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with WEtech Alliance, and other supporting community organizations.
- The latest information from Health Canada suggests that up to 1/3 of people carrying the virus are asymptomatic causing little and/or no noticeable signs, however, over 50% of known cases were transmitted by an asymptomatic carrier.
- 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 approximately 15 minutes to yield a result.
- Frequent screening with rapid antigen tests increases the chances of early identification of cases in otherwise asymptomatic individuals.
- Ontario has also released guidance for individuals or organizations that choose to participate in COVID-19 testing that falls outside of the public health care system, to ensure there is appropriate oversight and consumer protection and that public resources are supporting public health initiatives.