Coronavirus testing on the decline in Saskatchewan

As new daily coronavirus cases, actives cases and other epidemiological markers appear to be trending downwards in Saskatchewan, so does one other important measure: testing.

“We have a pandemic that’s taking effect in our province that includes a lot of people who will be mildly symptomatic or potentially not having any symptoms at all,” said University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Cory Neudorf, who finds the testing numbers concerning.

“If you want to get control of this, you need to make sure that you’re finding as many of those people as possible.”

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

Late last year, demand for COVID-19 testing spiked. There were long lines at the drive-thru testing sites in Regina and Saskatoon, with people waiting in their vehicles for hours.

Story continues below advertisement

It was only a handful of times back then that workers performed the 4,000 tests per day officials said they were building up capacity to handle.


COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan over the past two and a half months.

While the number of people tested varies from day to day, according to provincial data, weekly averages illustrate an overall drop.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

In the last seven days, a daily average of 2,178 tests were performed. In the seven days before that, the daily average was 2,628 and in the seven days before that, it was 2,918.

However, provincial test-positive rate has also gone down, continuing to hover around 10 per cent — well above the national rate of around 4 per cent.

Neudorf says that having a high rate is partially attributable to those who are sickest and their close contacts seeking out testing, but also reflects the high rate of illness in the community.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more:
SHA signs 3rd-party COVID-19 testing partnership for travellers, businesses

He suggests a sort of testing fatigue may be settling in based on some people’s past experience with the long waits, the discomfort associated with nose swab procedure, successive negative results and the stilll-existing stigma of not wanting a positive result .

“Over the past few days, was I in a situation where a lot of people weren’t wearing masks? Or I found myself in a group, I have a few mild symptoms. Maybe I should go get a test. People are starting to lose that motivation I think after this many months,” Neudorf said.


Click to play video 'How drive-thru coronavirus testing will work in Saskatchewan'







How drive-thru coronavirus testing will work in Saskatchewan


How drive-thru coronavirus testing will work in Saskatchewan – Sep 9, 2020

While Neudorf says introducing heightened restrictions, which people are also tiring of, is one way to respond to the dip in testing numbers, another is to innovate the testing strategy.

Story continues below advertisement

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday morning that the provinces and territories had been sent 17 million rapid tests. He noted that a very small portion of them have been performed and encouraged officials to “make good use of them.”

“They will be extremely important in the weeks and months to come to keep our numbers low until vaccines can be tested, vaccines arrive and so on,” Trudeau said.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said this province received 378,880 rapid tests, but that as of Jan. 20, only 6,767 had been used.

SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said Tuesday afternoon that the province is taking a targeted approach to administering them, starting with 75 care homes. The process is underway at 23 while another 22 are in training.

He noted the health authority has not yet worked through the logistics around rapid testing for schools and businesses.





© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

About admin

Check Also

AHS warns Albertans over 75 of scam offering vaccine appointments for money

AHS warns Albertans over 75 of scam offering vaccine appointments for money

Albertans over the age of 75 in the general population are still waiting for …