No shortage of rapid antigen tests for county child care providers

GUELPH – The Wellington County Children’s Early Years Division won’t be running out of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests anytime soon.

The county’s supply from the province has been put on pause as the tests pile up in storage here, early years director Luisa Artuso said during an April 20 social services committee meeting.

In January, the province began sending rapid tests to the county for distribution to all community-based licensed child care providers (local school boards oversee distribution of  tests to school-based care providers).

Two tests are provided free of charge to care providers for staff and families to use at home, should COVID symptoms arise.

Symptomatic persons receiving negative results twice within a 24- to 48-hour period can return to a program within two to three days of isolation, compared to longer periods without a test, potentially reducing absenteeism of staff and children.

The province reduced the supply of tests in February to 30 per cent of a provider’s licensed capacity on a bi-weekly schedule.

The early years division continues to distribute tests on a monthly basis, but bases how many are sent on the number of children enrolled and the staff working (determined by a monthly operator survey) rather than licensed capacity.

Artuso said the division has put a pause on receiving the tests “because we’ve been getting so many of them” and current stock is building up faster than it’s being used.

The province has been “very prompt and efficient” with deliveries, Artuso said.

Shipment notifications from the province will arrive at 11pm the day before, with the tests arriving around 9am the following morning.

In February, the province announced it would distribute 44 million rapid tests over an eight-week period between Feb. 9 and April 6.

According to a report from Artuso, the Children’s Early Years Division has so far received 22,637 test kits (containing five tests each), and completed three distribution rounds to 44 child care centres and 24 home child care providers within the county.