(COVID-19 rapid testing infographic. Image: alberta.ca)

(COVID-19 rapid testing infographic. Image: alberta.ca)

Ponoka chamber offering rapid testing kits to local businesses

A chamber membership is not required to participate in the program

The Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC), in partnership with the Government of Alberta, is now able to provide rapid COVID-19 testing kits to small and medium-sized businesses free of charge.

The Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce is participating in the program, and interested local businesses can request a form to sign up. A chamber membership is not required to access these kits.

“This partnership between the Government of Alberta and participating community chambers of commerce will expedite and streamline the process for Alberta businesses, in particular small and medium enterprises,” said Ken Kobly, president and CEO of ACC in a press release.

“This will lead to more tests being administered and will hopefully contribute to stopping the spike.”

“The purpose of these kits is to allow business owners to screen employees to catch cases of COVID 19 early and detect asymptomatic cases. These do not take the place of testing done through Alberta Health Services,” stated the release.

With rapid testing, business owners can administer tests to their employees once or twice a week, Heather Bendera, Ponoka chamber executive manager, explained during the chamber’s meeting via Zoom on May 18.

“It’s not meant to replace traditional COVID testing,” said Bendera.

Should an employee test positive with a rapid test, they must then immediately isolate and receive a COVID-19 test through Alberta Health Services.

Participating chambers sign an agreement with the government to acquire the testing kits, and then provide the kits to their local participating businesses.

Businesses must sign an agreement with their local chamber to receive testing kits. The application form includes the rapid testing guidelines and terms and conditions.

Participating businesses are required to report to their chamber each week, including the number of tests that were used, the number of positive tests and positives that were confirmed by PCR test.

As long as the business does not require any amendments to the guidelines, the chamber can approve the application form and provide the business with the tests. If modifications are required, the business should contact the province directly at rapidtesting@gov.ab.ca.

All Alberta chambers were invited to participate in the program, although not all have chosen to do so.

Visit alberta.ca for more information on the province’s rapid testing program.

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