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SHA looking at ways to address long lines and waits at drive-thru test sites in Regina and Saskatoon

Saskatchewan Health Authority's COVID-19 drive-thru testing site will be moving from Dewdney Avenue to the Lewvan Drive entrance of Evraz Place as of Friday. File / Global News

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is looking at ways to mitigate against the heavy traffic and long wait times at its coronavirus drive-thru testing sites in Regina and Saskatoon, CEO Scott Livingstone announced Thursday afternoon.

As a first step, the SHA said in a press release earlier in the day that it would be moving the entrance to the Regina site in the International Trade Centre of Evraz Place from Dewdney Avenue, where cars have been backing up, to Lewvan Drive.

The change is effective as of Friday.

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The change will make it easier for SHA, the City of Regina and Evraz staff “to better monitor traffic flow, keep line ups contained to the Evraz site and allow easier notification of estimated wait times and testing capacity,” said the press release.

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The health authority’s CEO said he’s aware of the popularity of drive-thru testing, not just in Regina, but in Saskatoon as well.

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“We’re aware of those days where we have backlogs and we’re turning people away, where people are waiting so long — we’re hearing those instances,” Livingstone said. “We are working on a strategy.”

The logistics are challenging, Livingstone said, because while the sites are popular, they are first-come, first-serve and demand fluctuates.

“It’s not the same number of people coming each and every day,” he noted.

Building more capacity at the drive-thru testing sites would require more resources, which, on days that are slow, could be used elsewhere to help with Saskatchewan’s coronavirus response.

Read more: Canada could approve 1st coronavirus vaccine by end of 2020

 

The change to the entrance of Regina’s drive-thru testing site affects the SHA’s flu clinic running out of the Evraz complex Wednesdays and Saturdays. The SHA us asking residents seeking that service to use the Elphinstone entrance on the east side by Mosaic Stadium.

 

On Thursday, the province announced three more deaths and 299 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 7,362. One hundred and eight of those are in hospital.

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