City of Calgary ramps up workplace rapid testing for its employees

The City of Calgary is offering its employees access to voluntary rapid tests for COVID-19.

In recent weeks, it has completed more than 1,400 rapid antigen tests for those who want to sit down for the nasal swabbing. So far, no positive tests have been detected.

The tests are being offered at city hall, at the city’s emergency operations centre and at its 911 call centre.  

The city has about 14,000 employees.

The director of environment and safety management for the City of Calgary, Christopher Collier, said it wanted to give city workers the chance to have ready access to COVID testing for their own piece of mind.

“The idea with that is folks who want to get tested, who are curious about tests or want to otherwise check their status, they have the opportunity just to pop in, show their city ID and it’s a very quick test, takes about 10 minutes,” said Collier.

The testing is not for people who are showing COVID-19 symptoms. He said people in that category should seek medical advice or contact AHS for testing.

The test kits, which include a nasal swab, were provided by AHS to the City of Calgary and are being used by a private contractor hired to do the testing.

Collier said that it’s anticipated that another two or three voluntary test sites will be added at city facilities in September.

Currently, the city is limiting capacity at its worksites to 33 per cent. It had originally planned to have all of its employees back in their workplaces by mid-September.

However the rising number of cases prompted it to delay that mandatory return until at least Oct. 20.

Last month, the city announced it is working on plans for mandatory rapid COVID testing for its employees who are not fully vaccinated.

The city said that it is planning to comply with human rights legislation and will accommodate employees who legally entitled to exemptions.

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