Effective immediately, Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) PCR testing will be reserved for priority populations at elevated risk for severe outcomes. Also from Monday, February 7th, all COVID-19 PCR testing will be by appointments made through HealthLine 811.
While the online appointment booking system will be discontinued February 7th, walk-in and drive thru testing sites will be discontinued over the coming week. Services provided through SHA testing and assessment centres will be redistributed to primary care sites through the month of February.
Saskatchewan health officials say they are prioritizing efforts to deal with Omicron while ensuring delivery of other essential services and managing resources.
SHA lists at risk priority groups to include:
- Hospitalized patients, those admitted or transferred between acute, long-term care or personal care homes
- High risk populations as ordered by the medical health officer: residents in long-term care, personal care homes and congregate living facilities; and international or travellers from areas of concern
- Priority symptomatic persons: health care workers or essential workers who have a negative rapid antigen test but remain symptomatic; those with chronic illness (diabetes, history of cancer, cardiac failure, etc.)
- Symptomatic people living or working in First Nation and Métis communities
- Surgical patients with symptoms or a positive rapid antigen test if scheduled or expecting to receive surgery within the next 90 days
- Pregnant patients who are symptomatic and more than 30 weeks gestation
- Symptomatic immunocompromised individuals including all transplant donors and recipients prior to and post-transplant; all oncology patients prior to, receiving or post chemotherapy
- Newborns born to COVID-19-positive parents, prior to discharge.
Additionally, health care workers and essential workers as defined under the current public health order with negative rapid antigen results who remain symptomatic will continue to be eligible for PCR tests to protect Saskatchewan’s essential services.
The SHA notes there is now widespread availability of vaccines for first, second and third doses. As well, at-home rapid testing has enabled individuals to self-manage.
Public Health Orders
The current public health orders will remain in place, but are subject to review.
This includes mandatory masking in all indoor public spaces including schools; mandatory self-isolation for all confirmed cases; and proof of vaccination or negative test requirements for public access to a list of establishments, businesses and event venues.