‘Prevent another lockdown’: Clarington resident advocates for Durham rapid COVID-19 testing

‘Prevent another lockdown’: Clarington resident advocates for Durham rapid COVID-19 testing

A Clarington, Ont., resident is hoping to safely ease people back into business once the province lifts its stay-at-home order.

Mark Canning is advocating for the region to take proactive measures so that after the current lockdown, businesses can remain open without fear of closing again. He’s proposed an optional COVID-19 rapid testing pilot program for retailers in Clarington.

“Small businesses really can’t afford (another lockdown). Many are just hanging on right now,” he said.

“Rapid testing would be another way, another method to catch some COVID-19 on a totally optional basis to prevent another potential lockdown.”

The concept is currently being undertaken in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge. According to reports, there are millions of unused COVID-19 rapid tests sitting in empty warehouses across the country.

Canning says this is where the region could get the majority of its supply. Doctors say the tests are mostly accurate, but there is still potential for errors.

Gord Gill, who owns a Bowmanville youth entertainment complex, Joey’s World, says he’s on board with the proposed project as it could help alleviate concerns amid staff and customers.

“It would help just because of customers’ behaviour over the last year when we were allowed to open, they wanted to know is the place safe enough for their kids to come,” he said.

“For those who are concerned about bringing coronavirus back into their home, we would open up time slots throughout the day for that segment o the population to know they are safe here.”

The region’s medical officer of health says Durham currently does not play a role in acquiring and distributing rapid testing kits, and that it would be up to businesses to do so.

“(Businesses) need to understand not only how to access the test kits, but how to implement them within (the) workplace,” said Dr. Robert Kyle.

“In terms of the region, we don’t have a role to play in terms of rapid testing. This really falls under the auspicious of Ontario Health.”

Canning says he will continue to inform local businesses and municipal staff about his pilot project. His proposal is scheduled to be presented at the region’s next health and social services committee Thursday.
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