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Small business benefits from free COVID-19 rapid tests thanks to new state program

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Posted at 4:07 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 20:23:48-05

TEMPLE, TX — A new state program allows the Texas Department of Emergency Management to give free rapid COVID-19 tests to Chamber of Commerce organizations across the state.

This program is being modeled after the COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program for Texas School Systems implemented by the TEA.

How this works is a Chamber of Commerce organization needs to request free rapid COVID-19 tests. They then can give them to local small businesses in the area.

The Temple Chamber of Commerce received 2,900 tests and have already given out more than 50%.

"This ties in so much with our mission to preserve, protect, promote a business-friendly environment," said Rod Henry, president of the Temple Chamber of Commerce.

KPA Engineers is one business that has benefited from the free tests. Before a business can have access to the tests, there needs to be a dedicated employee to become an administer of protocols and reporting results. That became Camryn Bintz's job at KPA Engineers.

"It was only a 30-minute training so, ya know, you can be done over your lunch break. It's invaluable because we have 40 employees to keep safe, so to me 30 minutes is nothing," Bintz said.

To receive more tests, the chamber has to administer a certain percentage, and for smaller businesses with only a few employees, they probably won't need as many tests as KPA Engineers.

Henry and the Temple Chamber have a plan for testing efficiency.

"We're going to try and figure out a way that we can connect them with another small business so the tests get used versus wasted. They do have a shelf life come may," Henry said.

The tests are self-administered and must be done in front of the trained employee. It's a simple nose swab that only takes 15 minutes for results.

"We're very thankful for the chamber, and it's just a huge benefit for us to keep our employees safe," Blintz said.

Tests are completely free to local businesses, and you do not need to be a member of the Temple Chamber to participate.

Contact your local chamber to see if they have begun the rapid test program. Temple businesses can contact the Temple Chamber of Commerce at 254-773-2105.