With some extra help over the holidays, the team who are contacting those who have tested negative for COVID-19 are hitting their targets.
The addition of 45 medical students to the team over the holiday break in December provided a boost in resources that allowed the team to work more quickly through the list of outstanding call-backs.
“The continuing efforts of our team and the additional support from the medical students has gotten us to a point where we are able to call with negative COVID-19 test results within a day or two of receiving them,” said Kathy Rossler, Public Health Incident Command Centre (PHICC) operational chief. “I am so thankful for the ongoing dedication of this team, and health care workers across the province, for working so hard for the people of Saskatchewan.”
One problem that is persisting for the team is incorrect or outdated contact information for those receiving tests.
Those getting tested, or interacting with the health system in any way, are encouraged to ensure they provide a correct, up-to-date phone number at every interaction.
“We are averaging anywhere from 12 to 25 per cent of daily results that do not have a correct, current phone number,” said Rossler. “If a number isn’t included in the requisition, our digital health team pulls from other sources, including the registration system, so it’s very important that information is current. It helps us get test results in clients’ hands faster, and it reduces the extra work for our team, which frees them up to make more calls.”
Another factor that is helping the team stay up-to-date on callbacks is more concerning: the number of tests done has been lower than expected over the holidays and in early January. At the same time, the daily number of people testing positive is rising.
“Getting tested is just as important now as it was at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Rossler. “If you have symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please consider getting tested. It is one of the most important ways we can accurately track cases, and slow the spread.”
There is a self-assessment tool on the Government of Saskatchewan website. You can also contact Healthline 811, your nurse practitioner or your family doctor for a testing referral, or visit one of our drive-thru testing sites in Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina and Yorkton. All four are now open daily.