Released on September 29, 2021
Rapid antigen self-tests are a simple and effective tool to identify COVID-19 cases and halt the chain of transmission. Saskatchewan is developing plans to expand the public distribution of self-tests for personal use to accelerate the detection of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in the province, preserving provincial laboratory PCR testing for symptomatic and confirmation testing.
The province expects to receive one million self-tests from the federal allocation by mid-October. The province is also considering purchasing additional Health Canada-approved rapid-tests for self-testing to supplement this supply. A sample of these kit types has been brought in for validation at the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory.
By mid-October, it is anticipated self-test kits will be made available to the general public via:
- Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency bases, municipal and First Nations' fire halls
- Select Saskatchewan Health Authority locations on a schedule to be determined
Details including specifics on the locations as well as dates and hours of distribution will be announced once the supplies are delivered and available and the information will be posted to Saskatchewan.ca/covid-19. The Ministry of Health is exploring partnerships to make kits available at accessible, public locations.
The Test to Protect program currently makes self-tests available in congregate settings such as long-term care, personal-care homes, shelters, detox facilities, group homes, schools and correctional facilities for screening and surveillance. Saskatchewan Health Authority health care workers, dentists, pharmacists and first responders are able to access self-tests for self-screening. Businesses and organizations with fewer than 200 employees can receive a supply of tests through the SHA for workplace screening.
Using Rapid Antigen Self-Tests for Screening
The Test to Protect Program provides self-tests for asymptomatic screening and surveillance, with the expectation that tests are performed once or twice per week. Any presumptive positive results from self-testing requires a confirmatory lab PCR test.
Self-Test Expansion via Schools
The Saskatchewan Health Authority has provided a new supply of 475,000 self tests to Saskatchewan elementary schools, expanding the self-test at home pilot throughout the province. The program targets households with students age 11 years and under as these students are not yet eligible for vaccination.
As of October 4, if you have a child age 11 years and under attending school, you may contact that school about receiving at home, self-testing kits for the use of students age 11 years and under, as well as all household members. More information will soon arrive in your child's backpack.
Preserving Symptomatic Testing Resources
With the expansion of self-testing for asymptomatic COVID-19 surveillance, the Saskatchewan Health Authority's public PCR testing sites will shift to focus on:
- Individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (symptomatic)
- Individuals with a positive rapid antigen self-test result
- Close contacts to a positive COVID-19 case
- Persons identified in an outbreak situation, as ordered by the MHO
- Immunocompromised residents (including chemotherapy, hemodialysis)
- Individuals who require transfer or admission to long-term care, personal-care home, social services care and acute care facilities
These requirements will be confirmed through pre-testing screening questions when booking a test through HealthLine 811 or when presenting at SHA testing sites.
Preserving laboratory testing for symptomatic and confirmatory COVID-19 testing will ensure those individuals receive their test results in a more timely fashion, and speeding notification for either self-isolation or returning to day-to-day activities.
Information on testing sites including locations and hours of operation is available at Saskatchewan.ca/covid-19.
Residents who require negative test results in lieu of proof of vaccination are responsible for purchasing a test from a private test provider. A publicly-funded test result, whether from the provincial lab or from a provincially-supplied self-test (ie workplace or school screening) will NOT be accepted as proof of negative test results.
A list of private test providers is available at Saskatchewan.ca.
Stick it to COVID - Get Your Vaccination
While Test to Protect is an important layer of protection against COVID-19 transmission, vaccination remains the most important preventative step you can take to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority is holding pop-up and walk-in vaccination clinics throughout the province, targeting under- and unvaccinated communities. With increased demand for vaccination, the SHA is adding vaccination clinics. Watch for details on clinic locations and times listed on the SHA website. Please note clinics are subject to change based on demand, resources, etc. Any changes to clinic hours and location will be updated online.
A map of pharmacies participating in COVID-19 vaccinations is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-pharmacies.
General COVID-19 Information
General public inquiries may be directed to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca.
For more information, contact:Health