Use of Rapid COVID-19 Testing Kits Being Expanded in Sask.

The provincial government has a plan for the more than 700,000 rapid point-of-care tests received from the federal government.

The COVID-19 tests will be used in a number of settings including walk-in or drive-thru sites, mobile testing and pop-up testing sites.

With appropriate training, the rapid tests will be offered to long-term and personal care homes, detox facilities, group homes and schools.

The Health Ministry wants to develop a Request for Pre-Qualifications tender for third-party providers to deliver these tests at these locations.

Tests will also be available for ambulance, fire, police and participating pharmacies and dental offices.

Health Minister Paul Merriman says, “These changes give us the ability to move swiftly to expand testing options.”

He believes it will help to curb the spread of the virus and with the variants showing up in Saskatchewan, Merriman says it’s more important than ever to expand testing.

Anyone who tests positive with a rapid test will need to be retested with a PCR test to confirm the result.

Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone says lab licenses would have been a barrier that would not have been controlled by the SHA or Ministry of Health. “Because the test is simple and safe they’ve lifted that regulation, which allows us to get to other areas a lot quicker. It still does require some training and individuals to do it, that’s why third-party RFPQ (Request for Pre-Qualifications) will actually be going out to help those who don’t have the assistance.”

NDP Official Health Critic Vicki Mowat says it is promising to see a plan in the works to deploy rapid testing, but believes the announcement was light on details. Mowat says there was no information on when this tool will actually be used to fight COVID-19. She criticized that the government has had access to the tests for months but hasn’t finished developing a tender for delivery.


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