COVID-19 Testing Drops as Saskatchewan Prepares to Announce Its Reopen plan

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THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The number COVID-19 tests being done in Saskatchewan has dropped off as the province’s premier prepares to release a plan for how to reopen parts of the economy.

The CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority says it has the capacity to do more than the 1,500 tests per day that Premier Scott Moe has set as a target.

But Scott Livingstone says testing numbers have dropped because the health authority is not seeing people presenting with symptoms of the virus.

There has also been a decrease in the volume of calls to the 811 health line, which does referrals.

Heath officials say reasons for the drop include lower rates of transmission and the end of the influenza season.

To date, the province has performed more than 24,000 tests for COVID-19 and on Tuesday announced four new cases bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 320.

The health authority says it’s working on a strategy to expand testing beyond people with symptoms and those who have been in contact with the virus.

On Wednesday night, Moe is to deliver a televised address to the province, a first for a Saskatchewan Party premier.

He’s expected highlight how residents have managed to slow the spread of the virus so far, while also emphasizing the need to show continued vigilance.

On Thursday, the premier is to release the province’s plan for how some businesses and services can start operating again during the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2020.

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