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Chamber will soon offer rapid COVID-19 test kits to businesses

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The Owen Sound & District Chamber of Commerce will soon be offering free rapid antigen screening test kits to small and medium-sized businesses.

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Diane Austin, the organization’s chief executive officer, said any business with under 150 employees will soon be able to register on the chamber’s website to receive two kits per employee.

She said she hopes to have the kits available for pick-up at the chamber office within the next week or two.

“This is really going to help employers,” she said Thursday. “I think it’s exciting and it’s for all businesses in the area.”

The province, in partnership with the federal government, launched this week the StaySafe COVID-19 rapid screening pilot program in Waterloo Region.

The program, according to a provincial news release, provides free rapid antigen point-of-care kits for employees of small and medium-sized businesses.

The pilot is a collaboration between the province, Communitech, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.

Austin said she heard about the program from a local company that has an office in Cambridge.

“I called right away and got right on the ground level and communicated with (program officials) to say I wanted on board with this. I think it would be huge here and huge for our businesses,” she said.

Businesses that register for the kits will also receive free N95 masks for their employees, Austin said.

The province says a COVID-19 rapid screening test can be performed anywhere and does not require shipping a specimen to a lab for processing. It takes about 15 minutes to yield a result.

Frequent screening with rapid antigen tests increases the chances of early identification of cases in otherwise asymptomatic individuals, the province says.

Registration for the kits will be posted at oschamber.com.

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