The Surrey Board of Trade is lending its voice to a call for widespread rapid testing and enhanced contact tracing to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
“Rapid testing and contact tracing, though not perfect, can be a key public health tool to mitigate COVID-19 in businesses and in other areas,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the board. “Businesses need more concrete strategies, instead of continued economic closures, to effectively slow the pandemic.”
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has called on the provincial and federal governments to get it underway.
An SBoT press release issued Wednesday explains that rapid testing involves using rapid antigen tests to test large groups of people frequently, whether they show symptoms or not, to identify and stop COVID-19 from spreading.
“Contact tracing involves identifying how contagious people may have spread the virus to others via close contact, testing those people, and then isolating them if they are sick,” it reads.
Research indicates that frequent testing with a short turnaround is more important than test sensitivity, and supports widespread testing using rapid tests with results ready in 15 minutes.
“Mass rapid testing can help identify people with COVID-19 who are infectious, including individuals who are asymptomatic or not yet displaying symptoms. With as much as 75 per cent of COVID-19 infections being asymptomatic who often fail to be tested, a mass rapid testing program will help to find these individuals and help stop the spread of COVID-19,” the press release continues. “This is important because stopping the spread of COVID-19 will protect those most at-risk, quell the disease, and allow Canada to safely reopen our country.”