TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario has launched two StaySafe™ Rapid Antigen Screening Programs – StaySafe™ Bluewater, with the Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce and StaySafe™ Middlesex, with the Strathroy and District Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario and Canadian governments. Through this initiative, small and medium-sized businesses throughout the Municipality of Bluewater and Middlesex County can engage in self-administered rapid antigen screening for asymptomatic employees. Rapid antigen screening is another tool to help open our economy and keep it open.
The StaySafe™ Bluewater and Middlesex Rapid Antigen Screening Programs will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses, with 150 employees or less. The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and in the community.
Business owners must place orders for screening kits online at StaySafeBluewater.ca or StaySafeMiddlesex.ca. The kits will be offered free of cost thanks to the Federal and Provincial governments, giving businesses direct access to screening kits to implement rapid screening programs for their employees. Businesses who have ordered kits will receive a two-week supply, based on twice-weekly screening of their employees – frequent screening with rapid antigen tests increases the chances of early identification of cases in otherwise asymptomatic individuals. The pain-free rapid screening test can be performed at the place of employment and does not require shipping a specimen to a lab for processing. It takes approximately 15 minutes to yield a result.
“In our efforts to recover quickly, rapid antigen testing is essential to help keep businesses, employees and their families safe. Working closely with the Bayfield and Strathroy Chambers of Commerce we are able to collaboratively expedite StaySafe™ Bluewater and Middlesex as an important tool to curb the spread of COVID-19,” said Christina Fox, CEO, TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario.
Screening with rapid tests provides an extra layer of defence against the spread of the virus by identifying people who are not showing symptoms of infection but maybe carrying COVID-19 into their workplaces and communities. These initiatives are an important tool for detecting cases of COVID-19 but are not a substitute for current safety protocols including physical distancing, wearing a mask, hand washing, and staying home if sick.
Bluewater’s StaySafe™ Pick Up Headquarters is located at Bayfield Community Centre & Arena, Middlesex’s StaySafe™ Pick Up Headquarters is located at Strathroy Town Hall, both are made possible with funding from the Digital Main Street program, with support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and the Government of Ontario.
“StaySafe™ Bluewater and Middlesex, will help small and medium-sized businesses across Southwestern Ontario and will help keep workers and their families safe. Adding rapid antigen testing to the arsenal of safety measures for small and medium-sized businesses is an important step to prevent workplace outbreaks.”
– The Honourable Victor Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
“Bayfield and Chamber of Commerce is proud to deliver this program to our business community in Bluewater, members or not, and give free access to COVID-19 Rapid Screening. As we reopen our goal is to promote the safety of our community and support the vibrant small businesses in it.” – Leanne Kavanagh, President, Bayfield and Chamber of Commerce
“Strathroy and District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to distribute rapid tests to small businesses in Middlesex County. These screening kits are free to any business, and you do not need to be a Chamber member to receive your kits. We hope that through this program, we will be able to curb the spread and reopen our local economy safely.” – Kathy Manness, CEO, Strathroy and District Chamber of Commerce
“Collaboration is imperative to Bluewater’s recovery; I am pleased to see Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario working together through StaySafe™ Bluewater to ensure the safety of our region.” – Mayor Paul Klopp, Municipality of Bluewater
“The StaySafe™ Middlesex program is a great example how we can support small and medium sized businesses to open safely. Working together the Strathroy and District Chamber of Commerce and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario are giving businesses the tools they need to do just that.” – Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden, Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc