The Alberta government is expanding the rapid testing program across the province that allows organizations to quickly test for COVID-19.
Businesses and service providers that want to offer rapid testing will no longer need to have a health-care provider oversee their program.
Organizations will be able to participate in the rapid testing program independently. According to a government news release, the change will also free up health-care worker capacity.
“We have heard from Alberta’s business community and other organizations that hiring a health-care provider was a significant and costly barrier for many organizations,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.
“This change will allow more organizations to access rapid testing kits without compromising health and safety.”
Organizations will be expected to follow “stringent requirements” around the use of rapid tests for asymptomatic screening and will be responsible for making sure anyone administering the tests is properly trained.
Training can be accomplished through online resources. The government will also make additional materials available on its website to help organizations train staff.
To be eligible to receive rapid tests, organizations must have a screening plan that outlines protocols for administering the tests, the use of PPE and process for reporting results and managing anyone who tests positive.
Priority will continue to be given to business and organizations involved with vulnerable populations, high-risk settings and workplaces, essential front-line services, critical industry and sectors that support the reopening of economic and social activity.
Rapid tests are provided for free to all successful applicants. To apply for the rapid testing program, click here.
However, organizations and businesses are “responsible for all costs related to establishing and operating their screening programs and assume all medical and legal responsibilities associated with them,” the province said.
The province will be working with Alberta Chambers of Commerce to develop a program specifically for chamber members. Details on that program are still to come.
More than 1.785 million rapid tests have been deployed across Alberta to date.
Rapid testing kits are currently being used to test in more than 90 Alberta businesses or organizations, including those in the oil and gas, transportation, meat-packing and utilities industries, the government said.
Rapid tests have also been sent to long-term care homes, schools and homeless shelters.