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As stock flies off the shelves, ‘rapid’ tests live up to their name for these N.L.


In a small shopping plaza on the Conception Bay South highway a business that specializes in health and safety training is seeing a surge in sales due to COVID-19 rapid tests. 

Eastern Safety Services starting selling the kits on Dec. 30, says Jason Oliver, the company’s director of training and supply.

“We had an overwhelming response to the point where we had to temporarily suspend sales to get our orders updated,” said Oliver this week.

They’ve already sold 30,000 units, and Oliver expects to reach the 60,000 mark by next week. The boom in sales has come as a shock to the company, which has been in business since 2006. 

“We weren’t expecting the blowup that we did have,” said Oliver. ” A lot of resources have gone into this with our limited staff that we do have.”

Jason Oliver of Eastern Safety Services says he hopes to soon be selling rapid tests across the province. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

At one time, there were lineups of people eager to get their hands on the tests, but the company has moved sales solely online. They’ve become so popular that the business is now offering them in other parts of the province. 

“We are starting up distribution in Carbonear, Lewisporte, Corner Brook and into Labrador, possibly, in the next couple of days,” said Oliver.

Rapid tests – a step-by-step guide

Need to give or take a rapid test? The CBC’s Katie Breen has a step-by-step guide to swabbing success. Watch it to get a sense of what to expect. (Show the kids so there are no(se) surprises!) 2:30

In Gander, the owner of Fresh Faces Laser and Medical Cosmetics is getting endless calls and messages about rapid tests, but she is having trouble get her hands on them. 

“They are very difficult to to get,” said Robin White. “I ordered them before Christmas, now they are on back order.”

White, a registered nurse, doesn’t sell the testing kits but administers them for clients, a service her business started offering in October to help people who need a negative result to go to work.

“It was a business opportunity to other businesses so they could continue to operate, so we brought in some tests to see where that market would go.”

Robin White, owner of Fresh Faces Laser and Medical Cosmetics in Gander, is waiting on her rapid test order to arrive. (Submitted by Robin White)

The rapid tests quickly became highly sought after with the prevalence of Omicron, she said.

“It was a bombardment basically of everyone looking for tests, especially for the fact that it fell right around the holiday,” said White.

“It’s not 100 per cent accurate, of course; however, it is one extra thing you can do to give yourself some other reassurance.”

White doesn’t know how many tests she’s given in the past few months but estimates it’s in the hundreds.

She’s been telling people to be patient and keep checking her company’s social media sites for updates.

“It is an extra layer of security and hopefully we will get back to a point where we have more of them and people can use them as needed.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador



Read More: As stock flies off the shelves, ‘rapid’ tests live up to their name for these N.L.

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