The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) said the development of rapid COVID-19 testing is a step forward for those living outside of urban centres.
Health Canada approved a new testing kit this week as the province hopes to increase the amount of tests health-care workers can complete every day.
SARM’s president said access to testing is top of mind for rural communities.
“It’s nice to have in your own community or if you have to travel, you don’t have to travel too far out — hopefully a matter of minutes to get to a community where you could get tested if need be,” Ray Orb told Global News.
An Ottawa-based company has designed a portable kit that can produce results in less than an hour.
The province has placed an order with Spartan Bioscience for the new test, which would also increase the province’s testing capacity.
“We need to address where some of the opportunities for this disease to spread — where those are and concentrate our testing, not only into the areas we have this far but also into those areas where there may be some opportunities for spread,” premier Scott Moe said during his April 13 press conference.
He said the order would be increased, but given the demand for rapid testing, he doesn’t expect a delivery for a few weeks.
Last week the health authority responsible for northern First Nations called on the federal and provincial governments to fill a surge request which included swab kits.
Global News reached out to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), but didn’t receive a comment before our deadline.
Orb added he understands the delays given the high demand for items like personal protective equipment, testing kits and respirators and hopes people are doing their part to stop the spread.
“We need to listen to him and the premier as well to keep track of the daily updates.”