Schedule in place for asymptomatic testing clinics

·2 min read

Voluntary COVID-19 asymptomatic testing for local students and staff in Chatham-Kent is now in place.

According to Kent Orr, general manager for CLASS, a schedule for the testing clinics was finalized Friday.

Clinics will be held each weekend and some Thursday evenings until May 2.

Mandated by the province the asymptomatic testing is designed to add another layer of protection in the fight against COVID-19. The aim is to test two per cent of schools each week, with a final goal of testing five per cent of the school population.

Orr says the intention of the voluntary testing is to provide “school specific support.

“This is an opportunity to test for those who don’t have symptoms,” he says. “This if for the school community, including students, staff and bus drivers.

“It proactively helps the local public health unit capture cases that would otherwise go unnoticed.”

Orr says the clinics are open to the school community, not only the invited schools that are scheduled.

“This approach is through a community lens,” he says, adding students can get testing even if their school isn’t on the testing list for the week.

To date, voluntary asymptomatic testing of local students and staff has been met with a lukewarm response.

According to Orr, the clinics in Chatham and Sarnia are now that busy.

“We’ve seen low participation rates,” Orr explains.

Three testing clinics, conducted by Life Labs, have been already been held. The first in Sarnia held three weeks ago saw a total attendance of 110, with the second in Chatham on March 21 seeing only 60.

A third clinic was held in Sarnia last weekend but numbers were not available at press time.

Participants are asked to view the CLASS website before attending as it outlines, in alphabetical order, different time frames for various groups.

The testing is open to all four of the school boards in the region.

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald