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Regina’s drive-thru coronavirus testing now 7 days a week to meet demand

Click to play video 'How drive-thru coronavirus testing will work in Saskatchewan' How drive-thru coronavirus testing will work in Saskatchewan
Here's how drive-thru coronavirus testing works in Regina. – Sep 9, 2020

Regina’s drive-thru coronavirus testing site has expanded its operating hours to be open every day of the week.

“We have seen an overall increase in demand for testing, ” said Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) spokesperson Doug Dahl in an email to Global News Monday.  “This can be attributed to the availability of testing without a referral as well as the general increase of COVID-19 activity.”

As of Monday, SHA staff will be testing people on a first-come, first-serve basis between 1 and 7 p.m. daily at the drive-thru site at the International Trade Centre at Evraz Place at 1700 Elphinstone St.

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When the site launched on Sept. 8, it was advertised as open from 4 until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

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On the inaugural four-hour day staff completed 260 swabs.

Since then, Regina’s drive-thru coronavirus testing site has done 8,466 tests, averaging about 353 in four hours.

Read more: How drive-thru coronavirus testing will work in Saskatchewan

 

 

The health authority is hopeful that extending the operating hours will help with “load-leveling across the week,” Dahl said in the email.

“We do not know at this point if our numbers will increase on account of the expanded drive-thru hours.”

Read more: First drive-thru coronavirus test site in Saskatchewan yields 260 swabs in 4 hours

There is also a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Saskatoon, located at 3630 Thatcher Ave. Its operating hours are from noon until 7:15 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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That location averages 401 tests per day and has done 11,255 since opening.

The SHA also does coronavirus testing by appointment at other locations in both cities and across the province.

Dahl noted there there continues to be “a high number of referrals” for testing, adding that in the case of Regina, the SHA anticipates “much of the testing at the referral site will now be diverted to the daily drive-thru… but to date, Regina’s referral numbers have not decreased.”

According to province-wide testing numbers released by the government Monday afternoon, a total of 233,017 tests have been conducted to date.

Saskatchewan’s per capita testing rate is 159,870 people tested per million population, below the national rate of 231,415 people per million population.

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