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Kingston Chamber of Commerce to provide rapid COVID-19 tests to local businesses

Jessica Colvin (left) and Karen Cross (right) of the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce visit the rapid COVID-19 test distribution centre. The Chamber has acquired 50,000 tests for redistribution to local businesses. Photo by Claire McLean Photography.

In partnership with the federal and provincial governments, The Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce has acquired an initial shipment of 50,000 rapid COVID-19 test kits for distribution to local businesses.

“Businesses are in a difficult position right now as they try to provide the goods and services we rely on while managing the potential for COVID cases to spread,” said Karen Cross, Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce CEO. “These tests offer one more tool in their arsenal to help them protect their customers and employees while continuing to operate their businesses.”

Kits will be available at no charge to all businesses with 150 employees or fewer in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington area beginning on Monday, May 10, 2021. Each business will be able to pick up a two-week supply, allowing two tests per week per employee at a time, according to a press release from the Chamber.

“As businesses continue to adapt to ever changing health regulations, this is an additional tool they can use to ensure they can operate safely, and that in turn will help boost community confidence,” said Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson. “This is exciting news for Kingston and we’ll continue to look for innovative ways to promote local businesses while ensuring the safety of our community.”

Participating businesses will be required to track and report all results weekly to the Chamber, and those results will be shared with the Ontario and federal Ministries of Health. Businesses are also required to report positive or inconclusive cases to KFL&A Public Health.

“With KFL&A area workplaces experiencing a surge in cases, the timing and availability of these asymptomatic testing kits could not be better,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health. “I hope workplaces will take advantage of these kits to keep their staff healthy and safe.”

The distribution centre for the test kits will be located at the Alliance Business Centre, 299 Concession Street in Kingston. The centre will be operated by volunteers from Kingston’s local Rotary clubs between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday to Thursday, though pick-ups will be by appointment only.

“Alliance is honoured to be partnered with the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce for this important initiative. It is our hope that this program will help our local economy reopen safely and efficiently,” said Brad French, President, Alliance Security and Communications.

The Chamber said the rapid antigen detection (RAD) tests they’ve acquired provide results in as little as 15 minutes and can be used by non-medical personnel. These tests are 90 percent accurate and can be used to help identify COVID cases quickly, ensuring the business can best protect its employees and customers safe in the event of a COVID case in their facility.

“It has become very clear that the distribution of rapid testing kits for local businesses is so important if we hope to flatten this curve and prevent another. Rotarians are committed to assisting the community as volunteers in this effort,” said Paul Elsley, President of the Rotary Club of Kingston.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, visit chamberscreening.ca.

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