COVID-19 rapid testing kits for workplaces now available
The governments of Ontario and Canada are making rapid testing kits for businesses available for free via Chambers of Commerce. The GNCC is now distributing kits in the Niagara region in partnership with Great Wolf Lodge. Great Wolf Lodge, located at 3950 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls, is a member of the Ontario Vaccination Support Council, whose mission is to support public vaccination through partnerships with private businesses. Great Wolf Lodge will be the distribution site for kits throughout Niagara. The GNCC and Great Wolf Lodge are donating their resources and facilities to the administration of this program, which was developed and spearheaded by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
Kits must be ordered at https://gncc.ca/workplace-self-screening-kits/. Online ordering is now available. The GNCC and Great Wolf Lodge are also providing facilities for the safe return and disposal of used tests.
For the safety of staff and volunteers at the site, no kits can be picked up without an appointment. These kits are for businesses with essential employees only and cannot be distributed to the public. Great Wolf Lodge is unable to provide information or book appointments directly.
Studies have suggested that as many as one-third of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, so detecting and isolating asymptomatic carriers is vital to stopping the spread. While PCR testing remains the gold standard, these tests are expensive and must be done in a laboratory, with results taking several days to return.
Rapid antigen test kits can identify a significant number of asymptomatic individuals. When used to test employees in essential workplaces, along with rigorous self-screening, the COVID Alert app, physical distancing and PPE, these tests can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 through workplaces.
Frequently asked questions are answered here.
Ontario Chamber and Meridian announce new partnership to support businesses
Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union, announced a new affinity partnership available to members of the Ontario Chamber network. Through this partnership, Meridian will be providing exclusive benefits to help businesses grow, enjoy exclusive banking offers, and receive perks for employees.
Businesses who are members of their local chamber of commerce or board of trade, including the GNCC, will have access to the following benefits through the affinity partnership with the OCC and Meridian:
- Chamber network members who transfer their services to Meridian will enjoy no-fee daily banking for a year, 30% off service fees, a $200 welcome bonus, and access to market-leading equipment leasing and financing options;
- Businesses that are already both Chamber members and Meridian members will still qualify (except for the welcome bonus);
- Employees of businesses who sign up can access a personal or wealth management banking offer worth over $800.
Niagara Medical Officer of Health delivers COVID-19 update
Mayor of Grimsby to hold Information Night on June 24
Mayor Jeff Jordan will be hosting another Mayor’s Information Night on June 24th from 6:30pm – 8:30pm to answer questions from the public, pending COVID-19 restrictions. Residents are welcome to submit one questions pertaining to Town of Grimsby initiatives that they would like the Mayor to address between May 20th – June 7th through the Let’s Talk Grimsby website. Due to COVID-19, this years event will be held virtually and streamed on the Town’s Website.
Brock, TOES Niagara aim to enhance lives of marginalized women and families through partnership
After years of working together on projects that empower immigrant and racially marginalized women and their families, Brock University and Tools of Empowerment for Success (TOES) Niagara are formalizing their long-standing partnership.
The organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their ongoing collaborative relationship.
Based in Welland, TOES Niagara offers workshops, programs and other support services to remove barriers for women and their families and help enable improved economic and educational outcomes.
Ontario won’t be returning to the colour-coded COVID-19 response framework once reopening begins, a spokesperson for the premier’s office says.
The framework, first introduced in the fall, placed regions in the province in different categories depending on local rates of COVID-19 transmission.
However, it was suspended twice — during both the second and third waves — as the province implemented stay-at-home orders and imposed restrictions stronger than what the framework entailed.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can now be stored at typical refrigerator temperatures in Canada for weeks longer than previously thought, which could have major implications on the rollout of vaccines across the country and around the world.
Health Canada announced Wednesday it had authorized a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech to allow the vaccine to be stored at temperatures of between 2 C and 8 C for up to a month — up from a previous five days.
The move comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended the change to the “more flexible” storage conditions for the vaccine on Monday, saying it could have a “significant impact” on the deployment of vaccines throughout the European Union.
Niagara COVID status tracker (May 15)
Niagara’s most up-to-date COVID statistics, measured against the targets for the various stages of the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, are presented below. This does not predict government policy, but is offered to give you an idea of where Niagara is situated and how likely a relaxation (or further restrictions) may be. These data are the most recent published by Niagara Region. The Grey-Lockdown level does not have its own metrics, but is triggered when the COVID-specific measurements in a Red-Control region have continued to deteriorate.
The Province of Ontario is currently under a stay-at-home order. The COVID-19 Response Framework does not apply during this order. Click here to review the restrictions currently in place.
▲: Metric has increased since last published measurement
▼: Metric has decreased since last published measurement
— : Metric has not changed since last published measurement
|December 18||December 25||January 1||January 8||January 15||January 22||January 29|
|New cases per 100,000||101.2||267.3||469.8||575.8||507.1||295.5||250.6|
|New cases per day (not including outbreaks)||60.7||178.7||311.7||376.9||325.4||182.7||145.7|
|Percent of hospital beds occupied||97%||95.2%||98.2%||103.2%||104.5%||103.6%||106%|
|Percent of intensive care beds occupied||78.8%||77.3%||87.9%||87.9%||90.9%||89.4%||93.9%|
|Percentage of positive tests||6.1%||15.6%||28.1%||28.6%||26.6%||21.2%||16.2%|
- Weekly Incidence Rate: the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per week
- Percent Positivity: the number of positive COVID-19 tests as a percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed
- Rt: the reproductive rate, or the number of people infected by each case of the virus
Niagara COVID vaccination tracker (May 19)
Niagara’s most up-to-date vaccination numbers are presented below, along with comparison data from Ontario, Canada, and G7 countries.
Total doses administered in Niagara: 235,202
Total doses administered in Niagara since yesterday: 4,831
|Percentage of population with one dose||Percentage of population fully vaccinated|