Additional COVID-19 testing option for travelers and businesses

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is partnering with Quantum Genetix Canada to provide an independent testing service as an option for asymptomatic testing. The SHA is estimating that this will add capacity of up to 350 tests daily by the end of December.

“Our Laboratory Medicine team has been working incredibly hard to provide test results in a timely manner,” says Lenore Howey, Saskatchewan Health Authority Executive Director, Laboratory Medicine. “However, given the high demand for testing and our focus on prioritizing testing for people with symptoms before people or travelers without symptoms, it’s been challenging to provide timely results for asymptomatic travelers, especially within the tight timelines required by airlines and international destinations. This is why we are so pleased to be working collaboratively with Quantum Genetix Canada. They have the technology to provide PCR COVID-19 testing for anyone requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test before travelling.”

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The opportunity to work with a third party would ensure that testing would be completed within these timeframes and will provide the SHA Laboratory with more capacity to perform symptomatic and other asymptomatic testing.

The agreement between the SHA and Quantum Genetix would see the company collecting and processing test specimens for asymptomatic people. All patient information collected would go to the SHA, and any specimen that is found to be positive will be forwarded to the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory for confirmation and verification. All testing performed will be included in the daily provincial case report, posted at Saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.

This is testing will be available starting in December and is user-pay. Residents and businesses who are interested can learn more at http://quantumgenetix.com/covidtesting/

“Quantum Genetix has been performing real time PCR testing in our laboratory for the last 15 years and are well equipped to handle COVID-19 testing,” Leigh Marquess, President of Quantum Genetix Canada Inc. said. “We are excited to be able help travelers and businesses with their COVID-19 testing needs. We have worked closely with SHA to provide the same standard and quality of testing as they are offering to the people of Saskatchewan. We anticipate test results to be reported within 24-48 hours from the time we receive them.”

SHA Laboratory Medicine is also working to support local businesses who are interested in purchasing and running COVID-19 testing platforms independently. Interested employers can pursue a collaborative agreement with SHA Laboratory Medicine to ensure quality testing and reporting of results on their platforms to meet lab licensing, regulatory, reporting and data capture requirements in a coordinated agreement. This will assist in keeping employees safe as well as maintaining business continuity.

“I think what we have discovered during this pandemic is that we are all in this together,” says Howey. “Forging these kinds of partnerships provides our health care workers with some greatly needed capacity and improves access and provides more testing options for our patients and families.”

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