After a slow start, the Alberta government program to get businesses rapid COVID-19 test kits for staff is ramping up, according to the president of the Alberta Chamber of Commerce.
“Anything that prevents the spread is good,” said Kolby, a Medicine Hat native.
The province announced the initiative to provide businesses and non-profits with the rapid-testing kits on May 12 that would be distributed through Alberta local chamber of commerce organizations.
Sources tell the News that announcement came as a surprise to many Alberta chambers, a point which Kolby confirmed included the provincial organization as well.
But with the kits now being shipped, businesses should take up the program as it will help keep staff from spreading the virus and help promote a safe relaunch of companies small and large alike.
“That’s the real benefit,” said Kolby.
The kits work much the same way as pregnancy tests but utilizing a nasal swab – though not as invasive as the brain tickler variety used widely during the early days of the pandemic – that provides results within 15 minutes.
They will be provided free of charge to interested businesses and can be administered by staff who have undergone a short online training presentation.
Kolby added he expects the program will “go as long as there is a demand.”
He said the tests will help protect businesses from having to shut down by catching cases early, and the program has proven its worth in other jurisdictions.
The Medicine Hat and District Chamber of Commerce is closed this week and wasn’t available for comment as to whether they’ve signed up to distribute the kits.
But Kolby says all businesses and non-profits are eligible to access the kits directly from the provincial government.
“Everybody has been running flat out and the Medicine Hat chamber is no different,” said Kolby of the local efforts to get businesses back to business.
Alex McCuaig, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News