Testing is part of the Saskatchewan Health Authority's strategy to limit the spread of COVID-19 and is made available to anyone wishing to be tested. You do not need to travel internationally or have symptoms to be tested.
Any individual can be tested. You can get a referral to a community testing centre by phoning:
- HealthLine 811
- Your family physician
- Your nurse practitioner
In Regina and Saskatoon, you can also get tested at a drive-thru testing site without a referral or appointment. See drive-thru information.
Please call your family physician or HealthLine 811 by dialing 811 if you have questions regarding COVID-19 and your health. HealthLine 811 can help you with screening for COVID-19 to determine if a test is recommended for you and refer you for testing if indicated. Testing will be prioritized according to established criteria placing higher priority on referrals that are most urgent, including individuals who are symptomatic or health care workers.
Testing continues to be strongly recommended for:
- Anyone who has unexplained new or worsening symptoms (even mild symptoms) that may include one or more of the following:
- muscle and/or joint aches and pains
- sore throat
- runny nose
- nasal congestion
- loss of appetite (difficulty feeding for children)
- loss of sense of taste or smell
- shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing
Testing is also recommended for:
- Patients being admitted to an acute care hospital for a stay anticipated to be greater than 24 hours. This includes all expectant mothers entering a health facility to give birth.
- Symptomatic individuals who are homeless or living in other vulnerable settings.
- Health care workers caring for certain immunocompromised patients.
- Any one working outside the home, including those currently working or returning to work as part of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan, who desires a test.
- Teachers and staff in elementary and high schools, ahead of and during the school year.
Your local public health official may also advise you to be tested if you have been identified as being at risk following contact with someone known or suspected of having COVID-19, or if you have been identified as being at high risk due to the active spread of COVID-19 in your workplace or community. Public health will contact you if you need to be tested under these circumstances.
Everyone should be familiar with self-monitoring and self-isolation precautions in order to keep you and those around you safe.
Please note: Changes to the Public Health Order
A number of changes have been made to the Government of Saskatchewan's Public Health Order for the Control of Transmission of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (September 10, 2020), including:
- All symptomatic persons that have been directed to receive a test for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results shall go into mandatory self-isolation until such time as a Medical Health Officer determines that they no longer pose a public health threat. See Page 2, 1(e).
This change was made to address confusion about whether or not self-isolation is required before a test result is confirmed.
- All persons who are household members or contacts of a person with COVID-19 shall immediately go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days and call HealthLine 811 if they become symptomatic and follow HealthLine 811 directives. See Page 2, 1(h).
Currently, anyone can request testing. However, testing is prioritized for symptomatic individuals. There is an established criteria placing higher priority on referrals that are most urgent. Test sites will prioritize booking tests for symptomatic patients, those directed by contact teams or MHOs and select other groups.
For people who are symptomatic, in accordance with the latest expert advice on COVID-19, we need to wait until symptoms have been present for 48 hours before testing to minimize the number of false negatives.
The laboratories follow criteria for prioritizing specimen analysis as well:
- Symptomatic individuals in priority groups (patients in acute care, healthcare workers and first responders, residents in long term care or personal care homes, teachers and educational staff and anyone that Medical Health Officers deem a high priority for testing).
- Symptomatic individuals in all population groups.
- Asymptomatic individuals in priority groups (patients in acute care, healthcare workers and first responders, residents in long term care or personal care homes, teachers and educational staff, people who are part of a contact tracing, outbreak or cluster investigation).
- Asymptomatic individuals in all population groups.
If you have questions about COVID-19, you can: