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Rapid COVID-19 testing kit use expanded across province

More options for COVID-19 rapid testing are coming around Saskatchewan.

The province announced a strategy to send out 700,000 point-of-care tests, which were received via a federal government allocation.

These will be sent out to care homes, shelters, detox facilities, group homes, pharmacies, dental offices and schools, along with appropriate training. There will also be options available for fire, police and ambulance departments as well.

After these sites enter an agreement with SHA,  these sites will be exempt from requiring a laboratory license under The Medical Laboratory Licensing Regulations.

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While some of these sites might not be equipped to provide the testing on their own, the Ministry of Health says they’re teaming up with SaskBuilds and Procurement to create a Request for Pre-Qualifications tender so that third-party providers can do the testing.

Health Minister Paul Merriman says that this will greatly increase the number of places to get tested, which will play a crucial role in curbing COVID-19. 

Any point of care test that comes back positive at these sites will need to be redone using a PCR test with the Saskatchewan Health Authority labs. If it’s negative, they won’t have to though, which is expected to reduce working pressure on provincial labs.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is also looking at pop-up point of care testing sites, and ways health care workers can do weekly surveillance for COVID on themselves.

Both the Health Ministry and the SHA will work together to give out the training needed and make sure the support is in place to use these tests to their full potential.

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