WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Windsor-Essex region is included in a province-wide COVID-19 rapid screening initiative for small and medium-sized businesses.

Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli made the announcement Friday morning on behalf of the Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses through participating local chambers of commerce and other organizations. Officials say the program will screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, in an effort to keep workers and their families safe and businesses open.

COVID rapid test

The province says this initiative has quickly garnered significant interest with chambers of commerce across Ontario like the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce taking part.

More than 500,000 rapid test kits have already shipped to 15 chambers and more than 50 others have expressed interest in participating.

The minister’s office tells CTV News that the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative builds upon the success of this existing program and delivers tests into the hands of small and medium-sized businesses across the province.