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Alberta increasing access to COVID-19 rapid testing program

Click to play video: 'Alberta to significantly expand COVID-19 rapid testing program in schools, says premier' Alberta to significantly expand COVID-19 rapid testing program in schools, says premier
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on Saturday announced that rapid testing will be significantly expanding to more schools and regions of the province as soon as possible. The tests will be rolled out to communities in Calgary, Edmonton, Grand Prairie and Lethbridge. Kenney says there are 400,000 rapid test kits that can be administered to about 200,000 students and 20,000 staff in about 300 communities – Apr 10, 2021

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.

Read more: Edmonton airport staff being offered rapid COVID-19 testing through 8-week mobile lab 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.”

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Click to play video: 'Edmonton airport employees being offered rapid COVID-19 testing' Edmonton airport employees being offered rapid COVID-19 testing
Edmonton airport employees being offered rapid COVID-19 testing – Apr 6, 2021

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.

Read more: Alberta government expanding COVID-19 school rapid testing program

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.

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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.

Click to play video: 'Alberta government expanding COVID-19 school rapid testing program' Alberta government expanding COVID-19 school rapid testing program
Alberta government expanding COVID-19 school rapid testing program – Apr 10, 2021

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.

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Rapid tests have also been sent to long-term care homes, schools and homeless shelters.

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