Rapid COVID-19 testing for small businesses arrives in region
WINGHAM, ONT. -- Treena Davidson can now test herself for COVID-19 and in a matter of minutes, the dental assistant will know if she is COVID-19-positive or not.
“I think it’s easy to do it on your own. Quick results. I think it was like seven minutes, and I’m negative, already,” says the staff member at Van Beek Family Dentistry.
Her employer, Van Beek Family Dentistry in Goderich, Ont. is one of many small businesses who have taken advantage of the free rapid COVID-19 testing kits, supplied by the provincial government and distributed by the Huron Chamber of Commerce.
“There are 40 chamber of commerces and boards of trade across Ontario that have stepped forward and opened up centres. There’s got to be another 40 or more that are jumping on board soon,” says Heather Boa, operations manager at the Huron Chamber of Commerce, which covers Goderich, Central Huron and North Huron.
London is also taking part in the program, which is designed to identify a asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in workplaces of less than 150 employees that otherwise could be missed.
“By getting these kits into the hands of small and medium (sized) employers, it is our hope that we can play our part in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and expedite the recovery of our local economy,” said Graham Henderson, CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce.
Goderich Toyota was the first business in Huron County to start using the rapid tests, after an employee’s spouse tested positive earlier this week. In a matter of a minutes, Pat Barnes had test results for more than 20 employees, all negative.
“It took some of the pressure off the dealership that maybe the bug was getting near us. It cleared everybody, and even today people coming back in were saying, when are we testing again,” says Barnes, who also owns Goderich’s Honda dealership.
There are over 750,000 rapid test kits available across Ontario through the chamber program with 20,000 alone up for grabs in Huron County.
“We gave away 2,000 kits yesterday, and 25 today. It’s hard to know as we get rolling along,” says Boa.
“Better safe than sorry. We’re going to start testing employees twice a week, and then we know for sure,” says Davidson.
“We’re going to do it every Monday morning, just so everyone is on board and agrees with it, so we know we’re clean and if employees want to tested more, we can test more,” says Barnes.