Citizens in Saskatoon and Regina now have access to rapid COVID tests sent to the province by Ottawa.
Tuesday was the first official day of distribution from the Chambers of Commerce in Regina and Saskatoon. The chambers are expected to have tests available for distribution to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saskatchewan is requesting 4 million rapid kits from Ottawa every month.
Many people turned up Tuesday to get their hands on the free kits.
Regina Chamber CEO John Hopkins said he expects the current supply of kits to run out by the end of the week.
"We've already given out hundreds of kits and it's been a good thing for our community. We are giving out a box to each family that comes and wants the kits. And there's five test kits within the box."
In Saskatoon, people showed up in large numbers to pick up tests. Chamber employees handed them out from boxes outside the building. The line was shorter in Regina, but a consistent number of people turned up.
There was some speculation on social media that the Regina Chamber alerted its member businesses via email about the kits on Friday, before the public was informed. Asked about this, Hopkins said anyone who wanted to pick up a kit on Friday was attended to. He said the Regina chamber won't turn people away on other days.
Hopkins estimated Regina the chamber had about 4,100 tests on hand.
He said the availability of rapid tests should not stop people from getting vaccinated.
"The key is not just getting these tests. The key is to get vaccinated. If we are going to defeat COVID-19, it comes down to getting vaccinated."