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JUNE 9, 2021 – HAMILTON: The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to provide small- and medium-sized businesses in Hamilton with COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Testing Kits for their workplace. This benefit for businesses is made possible through the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative – an initiative with the Ontario Chamber Network.
The rapid testing kits are free and are available for SMEs with fewer than 150 employees. Businesses with over 150 employees are asked to order directly from the Ontario government portal.
Hamilton businesses, including non-Chamber members, can go to hamiltonrapidtests.ca to order their kits and learn more about the program. Kits cannot be picked up without an appointment.
“This is another opportunity for Hamilton businesses to step up, as they have throughout the course of the pandemic, to aid in the effort of our public health professionals,” says Keanin Loomis, President & CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. “The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to provide free rapid tests over the next few months to any business in Hamilton with fewer than 150 employees as we join together to extinguish COVID-19 so that we can fully reopen the local economy.”
The Hamilton Rapid Testing pick-up centre, located at 44 Frid Street – the old Hamilton Spectator building – will operate from Tuesday to Thursday, 10 am to 3 pm.
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 Hamilton.
Other frequently asked questions about the program are answered here.
Marie Nash, Chief Operating Officer
Cassandra D’Ambrosio, Manager of Marketing & Communications
HOW THE HAMILTON RAPID TESTING PROGRAM WORKS:
(1) ORDER KITS: Hamilton businesses can visit hamiltonrapidtests.ca to order kits for their business, as well as complete important documents that must be brought to the first pick-up.
(2) PICK-UP KITS: Businesses will go to 44 Frid Street to pick up their kits. All visitors are required to wear a mask/face covering and physically distance when picking up their order. Businesses must complete and pass a COVID-19 Assessment at the premises before entry.
(3) REPORT RESULTS: Each SME will be required to electronically submit their screening results after each occasion and will be recommended to screen staff twice weekly. The accumulated data will be shared with Health Canada and the Ministry of Health Ontario. If a 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 an approved COVID-19 assessment site, and self-isolate until a confirmatory test result is received. The Chamber will not refill orders unless a business has reported the results for 75% of the screening kits that they picked up.
ABOUT RAPID TESTING:
The latest information from Health Canada suggests that up to one-third of people carrying the virus are asymptomatic causing little or no noticeable signs, however, over 50% of known cases were transmitted by an asymptomatic carrier. This makes it incredibly important to find asymptomatic carriers in order to combat the spread and get to more normalized community life.
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.
ABOUT THE ONTARIO CHAMBER NETWORK’S COVID-19 RAPID SCREENING INITIATIVE:
The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative is an initiative of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce network. Through this initiative, test kits are distributed through participating local chambers of commerce and boards of trade in Ontario to small- to medium-sized employers (SMEs).
These screening kits are provided by the Ontario Government complimentary to SMEsas an additional tool to help keep workplaces in Ontario safe. Any misuse of the procedures can negatively impact the workplace.
The 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.
To date, the Ontario Chamber Network has supported the delivery of more than 1.6 million free rapid test kits in almost 100 communities across the province through the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Ontario and Canadian governments.
“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. As the indispensable partner of business, we are proud that many of our member chambers of commerce and boards of trade, including the Hamilton Chamber, will be offering this program, distributing rapid tests to small and local businesses across the province.”
– Rocco Rossi, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.