The Saskatchewan government has amended regulations to permit businesses and the public to purchase and administer rapid antigen tests to screen for COVID-19 in asymptomatic people.
The province announced Thursday that, effective immediately, The Medical Laboratory Licensing Regulations no longer require an agreement between users of antigen tests and the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
"This step means that businesses and individuals can easily procure and use these tests. Ultimately, it will help asymptomatic people who have COVID-19 receive testing and treatment more quickly, and better protect others around them," said Health Minister Paul Merriman in a statement.
The rapid tests are not diagnostic tests, but are meant to detect positive cases of COVID-19 in asymptomatic people.
Those who receive a positive test are asked to call 811 for instructions, self-isolate and follow up with a test at an SHA clinic.
The province said large national businesses can request the tests through the federal government.
Small and medium-sized businesses can apply to the SHA through the provincial government website.
The public will be able to buy tests in stores. The province is asking people to make sure any tests they buy are approved by Health Canada.
"The Test to Protect community rapid antigen testing program provides workplaces with early detection of COVID-19 ensuring a strong and healthy workplace and workforce through outbreak prevention," said SHA testing chief Carrie Dornstauder.
The supply of federal government-provided rapid tests will be distributed on a priority basis, with those already receiving them — long-term care facilities, health care facilities, and schools — retaining priority over those now newly eligible.