Another Vital Tool in the Fight Against COVID-19
We’ve all read about those asymptomatic folks who have the Covid-19 virus but don’t know it. They don’t bother to go for a test because as far as they are concerned, they’re healthy. At home and at work, they’re spreading the virus to everyone around them with every breath they take.
As a way to identify asymptomatic, Covid-infected people and stop the spread, the federal and provincial governments announced on April 12, the start of a new pilot project in Waterloo Region.
“The StaySafe™ program will make rapid screening free and accessible for more employees of small- and medium-sized businesses, and help keep them and their families safe,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “By supporting this pilot, we are providing Ontario’s hardworking businesses with more tools to prevent outbreaks and ensuring their employees can stay on the job with the best protection possible.”
Providing free rapid antigen point-of-care test for employees of small and medium-sized businesses in key sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, mining, construction and food processing, StaySafe hopes to conduct 3,000 tests each week in the region.
Workers will be able to self-swab using a Covid-19 rapid antigen point-of-care screening test under the supervision of a trained person, right at work. This will decrease administrative costs while being faster and more efficient than current practices. It will also help detect cases of Covid-19 in the workplace that otherwise would be missed.
The StaySafe program and the Provincial Antigen Screening Program are part of a greater strategy to decrease the impact of COVID-19 on the people of Ontario and the economy. This includes stay at home measures, education campaigns on how to stay safe, significant testing and tracing capacity, and a robust vaccination distribution plan to make sure that every Ontarian who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated.
“Rapid testing is a critical tool that can be used to protect essential workers and keep their workplaces safe. Making this screening tool more accessible to business owners will fight against the spread of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region and I hope to see significant uptake from small- and medium-sized local businesses” said Mike Harris, MPP Kitchener-Conestoga.