A collaboration between the London Chamber and TechAlliance, StaySafe London will make rapid testing kits available to SMEs
THE LONDON CHAMBER of Commerce and TechAlliance have announced they will be launching StaySafe London next week, a program to connect small- and medium-sized business in London with asymptomatic rapid Covid tests.
Starting next week, businesses with 150 or fewer employees will be able to request the free testing kits and will receive enough to test each employee twice a week for two weeks.
Funded through the provincial government’s Covid-19 Rapid Screening Initiative, the StaySafe program was first piloted in the Waterloo region last month, to apparent success.
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“With the success of the StaySafe Rapid Testing Pilot in Waterloo Region, expanding rapid testing to small and medium-sized businesses across the province will help keep people working and safe,” said Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, in a May 12 press release announcing the expansion of the program. “Adding rapid antigen testing to the arsenal of protections for small- and medium-sized businesses, especially in regions with hot spots, is one more important step towards keeping businesses open and economic recovery.”
The London Chamber of Commerce, one of 28 chambers across the province with which the province has initially partnered to deliver these tests, has around 100,000 test kits to be distributed in the coming weeks, and are working with other business partners to get the tests moving as smoothly as possible.
“We have a whole group of outreach partners who are really helping us amplify this message,” Graham Henderson, CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce, told the London Free Press. “I think this is going to be a testament to the London community that we can work together so well.”
“In our efforts to pave the path to recovery quickly, rapid testing is an essential tool to curb the spread of Covid-19,” adds Christina Fox, CEO, TechAlliance. “Working closely with The London Chamber of Commerce we have been able to expedite this program in our community as an important support for small businesses and their employees.”
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Rapid tests, which have been used to great success in increasing testing rates in provinces like Nova Scotia, are meant for asymptomatic individuals — scientifically they are less accurate at detecting Covid, making them a more reliable indicator of non-infected status. As the province begins to eye lifting restrictions, the hope appears to be that these tests will help prevent the widespread workplace outbreaks that drove recent surges in cases.
“As we continue to vaccinate more Ontarians, testing remains a key component of Ontario’s pandemic response,” said Christine Elliott, deputy premier and minister of health. “By supporting the use of rapid antigen tests by more businesses, our government is helping to provide an additional layer of protection for workers and their families.” Kieran Delamont