Chamber may offer COVID-19 rapid testing kits

·2 min read

The Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce is looking into the viability of introducing rapid COVID-19 testing into the town, and how it might be implemented.

Chair of the Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce (SWCC), Hayley Poirier, said the primary concern with attempting to implement the program is having enough manpower to do so efficiently.

“It is a multi-step program to get (rapid testing) with a lot of responsibility interwoven into it. Because we are a volunteer board, we’re going to have to make sure that we know what we’re getting ourselves into to actually have the testing here,” she explained.

If the program is introduced through the chamber, employers and service providers will be able to apply to receive free rapid test kits. The program would be available to any public, private or non-profit employer with an approved COVID-19 screening program.

As of April 2021, the province also no longer required a health care professional to oversee rapid screenings.

Poirier added potential concerns from the board include more than just distributing the tests.

“It’s not just giving the test itself, but we actually have to manage who’s (which companies) getting the tests, how many people are testing, and the results from that testing.”

A vote from the board on Wednesday was tabled due to time constraints, though Poirier said the chamber will begin promoting they are interested in offering rapid testing.

She added no local businesses or pharmacies have approached the chamber to date, though expects that will change as promotions take off.

“Once we start promoting that it’s available, I think we’ll have more of a stronger reaction about how to get it and that’s how we’re going to approach this to begin with,” said Poirier. “If the board decides that we want to take the next step in being administrators of it, then we’ll be able to take more steps.”

More major chambers in larger cities, Poirier added, have already implemented rapid COVID-19 testing with relative ease and success. She attributes this to having larger staff who are able to administrate the program full time.

“The major chambers are able to manage this one; they have the manpower and the full-time staff to be able to manage administrating what is a pretty big task,” said Poirier. “(For) the smaller communities, it’s a little more arduous, and so we have to really make sure that we know what we’re doing and that we can manage it well.”

A return date to the discussion as to whether the chamber will administrate rapid testing was not disclosed.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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