REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Health Authority is expanding COVID-19 testing criteria to include anyone who works outside of their home.

The new testing guidelines will come into effect on May 25.

The new testing guidelines will include:

  • Anyone working outside of the home, including people currently working or anyone returning to work as part of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.
  • Immunocompromised people not showing symptoms.
  • Any patients being admitted into acute care hospitals for more than 24 hours, including expectant mothers.
  • Vulnerable populations.
  • Mobile worksite testing for anyone working in high-volume settings like factories.

Currently, testing is available for people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, anyone who has come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, any being admitted into a long-term care home, and anyone working or living in a care home if someone in the facility has tested positive for the virus.

People will still be referred to testing by calling HealthLine 811.

SHA bringing back some services

As the SHA starts to offer some health care services in Saskatchewan, it’s reminding people the system won’t look like it did before the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the SHA said waiting rooms will change to promote physical distancing. The health care system is also emphasizing virtual care where possible and increasing screening at health care facilities.

The changes may cause some delays for people needing care, but the SHA says they’re necessary to keep people safe.

Surgical patients will be contacted by their physician directly if their procedure is included in the expanded “urgent six week” surgeries.

Effective reproductive number

Saskatchewan’s effective reproductive number, which shows the average number of people one person infected with COVID-19 is likely to infect, currently sits at 1.87 in the province’s far north and north regions.

In the rest of the province, it sits at .62.

The SHA says an effective reproductive number below 1.0 means the virus is being managed effectively by people following public health measures.