As COVID-19 cases surge across the region and now the worry of the Omicron variant, Northwestern Ontario is facing a shortage of rapid antigen test kits.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP, Greg Rickford, said in an interview earlier this week, Northern Ontario has gone through the 2.5 million rapid test kits it received.

“Look we ran out, we didn’t waste any time distributing them. They were distributed to the Chambers of Commerce, the hospitals, long-term care homes,” said Rickford.

Rickford added that over 11 million test kits were also dispersed across the province to students to take home to use over the Christmas break and as they return to school in January.

Each student will take home a pack of five rapid antigen tests over the holidays and throughout the return to in-person learning. Students who test positive will be required to isolate and take a lab-based PCR test as soon as possible.

The MPP wanted to assure Ontarians that more rapid tests are on the way.

“We got another 10 million rapid tests procured, and despite the rumors, Northwestern Ontario is not compromised in comparison to any other region.”

Rickford concluded by urging people if they can get their hands on a rapid test kit to use them.

Earlier this month the provincial government began their holiday testing blitz at high-traffic settings to further protect residents against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

Two million rapid tests will be provided up until the middle of January at pop-up testing sites to settings such as malls, retail settings, holiday markets, public libraries, transit hubs, and select LCBO stores.

As of December 14, 2021, Ontario has distributed over 45 million rapid tests to thousands of workplaces, hospitals, home, and community care settings, long-term care homes, and schools and childcare centres across the province.