Businesses that want to access free rapid tests will no longer be required to have a health-care provider oversee their screening program.
Organizations will be able to participate in the rapid testing program completely independently and without finding and paying for a health-care provider, the provincial government announced Monday.
“The removal of the requirement to have a health-care professional oversee the rapid screening program will remove a cost barrier to small and medium enterprises participating in this program,” said Ken Kobly, Alberta Chambers of Commerce president and CEO.
“This will permit a wider and faster adoption of the rapid test program. It will also free up health-care professionals to more effectively use their skills in fighting this pandemic.”
The province will work with Alberta Chambers of Commerce to develop a program specifically for chamber members. Details will be available soon.
More than 1.7 million rapid tests have now been deployed across Alberta.
“As cases are on the rise, we know that many organizations can benefit from rapid screening programs, in order to catch cases early and break chains of transmission,” said Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.
“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. This change will allow more organizations to access rapid testing kits without compromising health and safety.”
The decision to remove the requirement for health-care provider oversight, which is supported by Health Canada, aligns with rapid testing programs implemented by Ontario and some international jurisdictions, according to the provincial government.
There are requirements on the use of the rapid tests for asymptomatic screening that all organizations are obligated to follow. Organizations are responsible for ensuring anyone administering the test is trained.
Rapid tests are easy to administer and training can be accomplished through online resources. Additional materials will be made available on the Government of Alberta rapid testing webpage to help organizations train staff to oversee screening.
Launched in March, Alberta’s rapid testing program allows any organization to apply for free COVID-19 rapid testing kits to be used in a screening program.