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Local NDP candidate wants more COVID-19 tests for the Sault

Michele McCleave-Kennedy says there is a 'clear need' for free rapid antigen tests locally as COVID-19 numbers remain high in Algoma Public Health region
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In a release issued late Friday afternoon, local NDP candidate Michele McCleave-Kennedy is calling on Doug Ford to have more free rapid COVID-19 tests sent north to Sault Ste. Marie.

Following is a release from McCleave-Kennedy on the request:

Michele McCleave-Kennedy, Ontario NDP Candidate for Sault Ste. Marie, is urging Doug Ford to send more free rapid tests to Sault Ste. Marie now. 

Sault Ste. Marie is among the Northern Ontario cities to so far be excluded from the government’s schedule of pop-up sites. While tests flowed to southern Ontario, Algoma Public Health was grappling with a case rate 319.1 per 100,000 as of Thursday.  

“There is a clear need for free rapid tests to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Sault Ste. Marie,” said McCleave-Kennedy. “It’s inexcusable that Doug Ford is ignoring the need in our community when people are worried about Omicron and want to keep themselves and their loved ones safe over the holidays. 

“Where is Ross Romano when we need him to be fighting for Sault Ste. Marie’s fair share of free rapid tests? Why is Mr. Romano celebrating Ontario’s distribution of free rapid tests when our community is getting left behind?” 

In a province of 15 million people, the government has only committed to distributing two million free rapid tests.  

“We should be making many more free rapid tests available province-wide in many more places, including in grocery stores and libraries,” said McCleave-Kennedy. “Doug Ford should start by doing the right thing and immediately sending Sault Ste. Marie more free rapid tests.”

In an email to SooToday Monday, Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano said the province is working on getting more testing kits, and will provide updates on the Ontario government website.  

“I am not surprised that the NDP candidate has only just now realized that we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. I am going to continue doing my job as opposed to campaigning for the upcoming election," said Romano. "Sault Ste. Marie received an allocation of rapid antigen tests on Friday, which were distributed, with more to come."

“We are working to secure more testing kits in addition to those we are expecting from our federal partners.”

The Ministry of Health didn't respond to SooToday's request for comment.