GODERICH – Today, the Huron Chamber of Commerce – Goderich, Central and North Huron and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario and Canadian governments, launched the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative.
Through this initiative, the Huron Chamber of Commerce will roll out free rapid tests for small- and medium-sized businesses in Goderich and area.
“Chambers of commerce and boards of trade have been indispensable resources in their communities since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Public health and the health of our economy are interdependent. That is why our chamber is proud to distribute rapid tests to small businesses in Goderich and area. We hope that through this program, we will be able to curb the spread and reopen our local economy safely,” said Jennifer Verdam-Woodward, Chair, Huron Chamber of Commerce.
The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small- and medium-sized businesses. The tests will be distributed through participating local chambers of commerce and boards of trade in Ontario. Businesses (including non-chamber members) with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in this program. 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 around the community in Goderich and area.
This initiative is delivered in partnership and participation by numerous community leaders, who did not hesitate to answer the call for assistance. Partners and participants include: Town of Goderich, Bruce Power, Goderich Little Theatre, Huron and Area Search and Rescue, and Alexandra Marine and General Hospital.
The Initiative was first successfully piloted in the Waterloo region by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Communitech, the Government of Ontario and Government of Canada. Through this pilot, the chambers have delivered 120,000 kits to nearly 1,400 businesses in the region. This means that up to 30,000 employees in essential workplaces are receiving regular screening twice weekly in the Waterloo region alone. The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative builds upon the success of this existing program and delivers tests into the hands of small and medium-sized businesses across the province.
“Rapid testing is one of the key ways to keep workplaces as safe as possible during the pandemic as we wait for vaccinations to roll out. It will be an essential part of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities so that we can get on the path to economic recovery faster,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
SMEs can log into the Chamber’s portal at www.huronchamber.ca when it goes live Monday, May 17 to order their two-week supply of rapid tests.
The kits will be ready for pick-up at The Livery Theatre, 35 South St., Goderich. A designate from each SME, responsible for supervising the self-screening collection onsite, will be required to attend the site for the initial pick-up where they will receive video training to properly supervise the screening process and safely dispose of the used kits.
Each SME will be required to electronically submit their screening results after each occasion and will be recommended to screen staff twice weekly. The accumulated data will be reported to the Ministry of Health bimonthly.
If a test results in a preliminary positive for COVID-19, the employee will be required to leave the workplace, arrange for a PCR Test within 24 hours at an approved COVID-19 assessment site, and self-isolate until a confirmatory test result is received.
“As the indispensable partner of business, we are proud that many of our member chambers of commerce and boards of trade, including Huron Chamber of Commerce, will be offering this program, distributing rapid tests to small and local businesses across the province. Over 760,000 rapid tests will be going out to communities across Ontario with 28 of our chambers participating in rolling this program out,” added Rossi.
“The Town of Goderich is pleased to partner with Huron Chamber of Commerce and others in supporting our business community. This initiative is a great example of our community spirit, working together is our strength.”
~ Goderich Mayor John Grace
“Bruce Power understands the importance of maintaining safe workplaces and stopping the potential spread of COVID-19 in its tracks. We thank the Huron Chamber of Commerce for leading this initiative so local businesses can ensure the health and safety of their employees, and help keep our economy strong in these trying times.”
~ John Peevers, Director of Community and Media Relations, and Economic Development, Bruce Power
“We agreed to make The Livery available to host the distribution centre because it’s our duty to help. Plain and simple. When I was first asked, I thought it was a good idea. I took it to Goderich Little Theatre President Dave Armour, who also thought it was a good idea. It went to the entire GLT Board and had unanimous and enthusiastic consent within a few hours.”
~ John Lodge, Treasurer, Goderich Little Theatre, which owns and operates the Livery Theatre
“Huron and Area Search and Rescue is committed to helping keep our community safe. For our volunteers, this is yet another way for them to respond to a disaster, this time it comes in the form of a pandemic.”
~ Jamie Mitchell, Deputy Commander – Field Operations, HASAR
“Alexandra Marine and General Hospital staff have first-hand experience with the devastating effects of the COVID-19 virus, and that is why we are pleased to partner with this incredible effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and in the community.”
~ Jimmy Trieu, AMGH’s Acting President and CEO
The Huron Chamber of Commerce is a politically independent, membership-based, not-for-profit organization that represents the local business community.
Huron Chamber of Commerce – Goderich, Central and North Huron