The City of Moose Jaw is one of 40 Saskatchewan communities in which the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has established a testing centre to test people for the coronavirus.
To help manage COVID-19, the SHA has been setting up different types of health-care locations in places throughout the province that have not been traditionally used for this purpose, explained SHA spokeswoman Amanda Purcell. Some locations may be testing centres, assessment centres, or other care spaces required to meet the needs of residents of those communities and the surrounding areas.
“Unless they are open for access to the public, we are not publicly disclosing the location of any of these health-care centres, to ensure that patient privacy is protected and that infection prevention and control measures are followed,” she said.
The SHA understands that through community dialogue, media outlets will likely discover these locations, and might want to take photos or publish information that would identify the personal health needs of the individuals seen accessing the buildings, Purcell continued. Patients have sent their concerns to the SHA about media being present, as they might feel vulnerable about entering the centre. Even if the media isn’t taking pictures, just the mere presence of media can cause anxiety.
“We would appreciate the support of Moose Jaw (media), along with the support of all community media outlets, to ensure we can provide a safe and comfortable environment for those (who) are coming to these centres, even when they are walking outside on public property,” she said. “We need to encourage people to follow through with their tests and care needs for health-care concerns without worrying about privacy or media.”
The Moose Jaw Express has learned of the location of this testing centre in the community but has agreed not to disclose this information.
As for the process of testing, it’s important to note that testing for COVID-19 is done by referral only, Purcell emphasized. What the SHA is asking residents to do is –to know whether they should be tested – to use the self-assessment tool online at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19. Through a series of questions, the self-assessment tool will help people understand whether they should be tested.
From there, if the assessment determines that residents should be tested, they will need a referral to be directed to one of the SHA’s testing centres or to access local testing (in rural areas).
People can access a referral by calling HealthLine 811 or by calling their family physician’s clinic.
The number of tests performed at a particular site will vary by day and will depend on demand in a particular area, said Purcell.
“It’s important to note that testing sites are where specimens are collected. Once the specimen is collected at a testing site, it is transported to a laboratory COVID-19 testing location,” she continued.
Laboratory confirmations of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 are currently being performed at both the Royal University Hospital (RUH) Laboratory in Saskatoon and the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) in Regina.
For residents or business owners concerned about the coronavirus, more information can be found at www.saskatchewan.ca.