Ontario deploys rapid COVID-19 tests to essential workplace, vulnerable communities

Feb 12 2021, 9:50 am

The Ontario government is deploying rapid test kits to more essential workplaces and vulnerable communities in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Rapid tests are now being used in long-term care homes, retirement homes, congregate care settings, First Nations communities and many essential workplaces.

Ontario has deployed approximately two million rapid antigen tests and 175,000 rapid diagnostic tests to essential workplaces and vulnerable settings. At scale, the province will be deploying approximately one million tests per week across these sectors.

“The use of rapid tests are real game-changers as they provide results in a matter of minutes instead of hours or days,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement. “It’s important to get them out the door as quickly as possible to provide an added layer of protection for our frontline workers and vulnerable citizens, especially those in rural and remote areas of the province.”

So far, more than more than 905,000 rapid antigen tests have been deployed to 455 long-term care homes. The province will provide approximately 385,000 tests per week for asymptomatic staff, support workers, essential caregivers, students and volunteers.

There have also been approximately 220,000 rapid antigen tests have been deployed to 152 retirement homes, with the province planning to deliver 118,000 tests per week for asymptomatic staff and essential visitors such as personal support workers or other care providers entering retirement homes.

In addition, 170,000 rapid tests have been sent to over 160 workplaces, including 30 essential industry sites. As Ontario begins to gradually reopen up to 300,000 COVID-19 tests per week will be delivered for asymptomatic staff in key sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, mining, const ruction and food processing.

On February 1, Ontario expanded asymptomatic and symptomatic testing to schools that are resuming in-person learning with over 4,000 ID NOW rapid diagnostic tests, which have been distributed to assessment centres.

And, Ontario has rolled out an additional 175,000 ID NOW tests to hospitals and assessment centres in 108 rural and remote communities across the province.

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