A doctor's lab coat. (Pexels.com)
The Saskatchewan Health Authority is starting universal COVID-19 testing Tuesday.
From July 14th and on, anyone will be able to request a COVID-19 test at any time, regardless if they have symptoms or not. To get in for testing, people should call HealthLink 8-1-1 to book an appointment. Patients will be prioritized for testing based on a number of factors, and the time between a testing request and receiving the test itself may vary based upon patient need.
The current volume of testing sits at 600 per day, with SHA’s labs allowing for as many as 1,800. The SHA has also put a Youtube video out to help people see what the testing process is like and what to expect when going in for a COVID-19 test.
In addition to opening up universal testing, the Saskatchewan Health Authority entered Phase Three of their services resuming. This means as of Monday, enhanced mental health and addictions supports, including social detox and addictions inpatient treatment can begin again.
Services in Chronic disease management, wellness programs, stroke prevention and specialized services for people with developmental disabilities, autism and brain injuries will also be open.
Surgical volumes, along with MRI and CT scans continue climbing back to regular, pre-COVID service levels. This next phase will further increase surgical volumes to between 75 and 85 per cent, including emergency, urgent and some elective surgeries. Medical imaging capacity has also increased to 90 per cent of pre-COVID service levels across the province, with MRIs at 91 per cent and CT at 93 per cent.
The SHA says these numbers vary significantly by site due to staff availability, and they will continue to work with physicians and other operational leaders to bring down the backlog of surgeries. Since the SHA began resuming medical services in May, they’ve re-instated 544 medical services across Saskatchewan. Regina and other southern parts of the province have seen more services resume compared with Saskatoon and the north, which the SHA attributes to the COVID-19 cases in these areas and the amount of medical personnel to respond to it.
Virtual care appointments remain open and will be used when appropriate, with in-person appointments still being allowed when needed.