Surrey Board of Trade Joins Call for Widespread Use of Rapid Testing and Enhanced Contact Tracing

The Surrey Board of Trade joins the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in their call for action by government – provincial and federal – on implementing the widespread use of rapid testing and enhanced contact tracing. This can play a significant, positive role in the fight against COVID-19 especially as widespread vaccination is many months away.

“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, Surrey Board of Trade.

Rapid testing involves using rapid antigen tests to test large groups of people frequently, regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms, to identify and stop the spread of COVID-19. 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.

Rapid testing and enhanced contact tracing techniques could involve:

  • using tests that deliver results in minutes to find positive cases and isolate them quickly;
  • testing high-risk and asymptomatic individuals;
  • implementing effective contact tracing to quickly identify those who may have been exposed to COVID-19, so they, too, can be rapidly tested; and
  • supporting a layered approach, which includes maintaining physical distancing and protective measures like masks, hand-washing and new safety protocols in stores and workplaces.

Scientific models show that frequent testing and a short turnaround time are more important than test sensitivity, and support widespread testing using rapid tests with results 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% 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. 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.

“Businesses need more concrete strategies, instead of continued economic closures, to effectively slow the pandemic.”

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