Province anticipates steady supply of rapid test kits despite feds' new per capita policy

·2 min read
The province expects four million more rapid test kits to be delivered this month and another four million tests in February. (The Canadian Press - image credit)
The province expects four million more rapid test kits to be delivered this month and another four million tests in February. (The Canadian Press - image credit)

The federal government will soon be distributing rapid test kits on a per capita basis and it's unclear what this policy change will mean for Saskatchewan residents.

Up until now rapid test kits were given out to anyone that asked for them in the province.

Saskatchewan has given out about 12 million of these kits, with residents being able to pick them up at local grocery stores, chambers of commerce, schools or public libraries.

Marlo Pritchard, president of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA), said at a news conference on Thursday that the province expects four million tests to be delivered in January and another four million in February.

"We have confirmation for January to receive those four million [kits]," said Pritchard, adding the province hadn't received confirmation of the February shipment, but there is no indication it won't be delivered.

Saskatchewan residents seem to be scooping up the kits as fast as they are available.

Mark Black, a branch manager with Regina Public Library, said hundreds of people come in every day to pick up a kit.

"George Bothwell, which is one of our larger branches, we've done as many as 700 [kits] in a day, but frequently we're seeing like 500 kits being distributed per day," Black said.

Submitted by Regina Public Library
Submitted by Regina Public Library

Pritchard said there are more than 600 distribution locations throughout the province.

"If they are running low, they will send in a request to the SPSA and we will ship out a similar number," Pritchard said.

He said 385,000 rapid test kits have already been sent to schools and another 175,000 will be shipped to schools in the next two weeks.

"We anticipate that we will have sufficient rapid test kits throughout the province for everyone."

Black said the library has received a steady supply of test kits for the past several weeks He said smaller branches in Regina were initially giving out 40 to 50 kits per day, but are now averaging closer to 250 kits.

"The spin off of that is we're also seeing more traffic into those [library] branches as well," he said.

"Hopefully they're a repeat customer and they'll come back for the books and other services."

Black said the library hasn't been told the supply will dry up and will continue to offer the rapid test kits to anyone that comes in.

"We've got kits at all the branches and we're happy to supply them," he said.

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