Unvaccinated workers in Manitoba schools, licensed daycares and hospitals will be among those who will soon face regular COVID-19 testing before showing up for work.
The new public health rules take effect Oct. 18 and will require certain employees who work with the public to either be fully vaccinated against the illness or provide proof of a negative test result within the 48 hours before their shift, the province said Friday.
For someone who works a regular five-day week, that could mean doing up to three weekly tests, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said in an online briefing with reporters.
Rapid testing will be made available at workplaces for unvaccinated employees. The province said it will provide and pay for the tests for now, but that could change if supplies run out.
Workers will be tested with either the Abbot Panbio test or the BD Veritor test — rapid antigen tests that provide results within about 15 minutes, Dr. Roussin said.
The upcoming requirements, which the government first announced last month, will also affect paramedics, home-care workers, people working with child and family services, and all health-care personnel.
Manitoba Nurses Union president Darlene Jackson said the union is still reviewing the new public health order but knows vaccines are a key step toward getting the pandemic under control.
“The past 18 months have been some of the most difficult days any nurse in this province has faced in recent history. Stopping the spread of [COVID-19] is necessary in order to move forward,” Ms. Jackson said in an emailed statement.
Public servants who regularly have direct and ongoing or prolonged contact with vulnerable populations will also be bound by the new rules.
That includes those who work with kids, seniors, people with disabilities, people experiencing housing insecurity and people living with addictions.
It also covers civil servants in congregate living facilities like group homes and correctional facilities.
Funded agency personnel in direct contact with vulnerable populations will have to comply, too.
That list also includes people working or volunteering for a government-funded group that provides social services to kids, seniors, people with disabilities, people experiencing housing insecurity and people living with addictions.
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