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Saskatchewan government to expand delivery of rapid antigen testing kits

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan officials provide COVID-19 testing, hospital update' Saskatchewan officials provide COVID-19 testing, hospital update
WATCH: Saskatchewan officials provided a number of updates during a technical briefing on Friday, including the delivery of millions of rapid antigen tests and how the health care system has redeployed staff to dealing with an overwhelming amount of COVID-19 patients. Kimberley Fowler has more. – Oct 15, 2021

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will expand delivery of COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits after 2.6 million kits were delivered.

Supply will be made available to the general public including First Nations communities to “support asymptomatic COVID-19 surveillance.”

“Routine, voluntary testing at home will help prevent asymptomatic transmission to those who are not able to be vaccinated and will reduce COVID-19 transmission in the community,” a government news release stated.

Read more: New Sask. public health order will include proof of vaccination requirements for more businesses

More than 1.3 million of these tests will be available for the general public for free. Residents can receive these tests starting the week of Oct. 18 through participating fire halls, local chambers of commerce, and SHA testing and assessment centres.

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First Nations communities will receive more than 360,000 of these tests through provincial allocation to Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).

Government officials said this allocation will support COVID-19 surveillance “in the absence of a predictable supply directly from the federal allocation.”

Read more: Saskatchewan health minister says province’s low COVID-19 vaccination rate is skewed

The government will update a list of these locations as tests are available and as new sites participate at Saskatchewan.ca/covid-19.

Officials added the tests do not come individually packaged but are in bundles so kits will be distributed quickly.

Availability of tests will depend on the locations’ hours of operation and supply.

Self-testing kits are available on a first come, first served basis and households are only allowed one kit at this time.

Read more: Saskatchewan looking at sending some COVID-19 ICU patients to Manitoba

The provincial government said it has increased its requests to the federal government from 1 million to 4 million test kits per month to help with demand.

Schools in the province will also receive a new supply of 720,000 tests and the remained of the tests will be delivered to other areas of the SHA’s test to protect program. These include congregate living facilities such as long-term care, personal care homes, correctional facilities, shelters and group homes.

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Health-care workers and businesses registered with the SHA for a workplace surveillance program are also included in Test to Protect program.

The government added self-testing (rapid antigen testing) are an additional asymptomatic tool and are not to be used for a substitute of not getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

If a self-test comes back positive, individuals are told to seek a lab PCR test through an SHA testing site or call HealthLine 811 to arrange a test.

Read more: Specialty Health Clinic offering COVID tests in Regina

“Self-tests distributed for the purpose of workplace or asymptomatic surveillance will not be accepted for the negative test requirement, as part of the proof of vaccination or negative test result policy,” the release added.

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Ontario announces ‘targeted’ COVID-19 rapid testing program for schools – Oct 5, 2021

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