Saskatchewan plans to do its own COVID-19 variant testing by March: Premier Scott Moe

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REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he expects a provincial lab will be able to test for samples of concerning COVID-19 variants by next month.

He says the Roy Romanow Provincial Lab in Regina is in the process of becoming certified so it can carry out such tests on strains that appear to be able to spread more easily.

Currently, samples have to been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, which means results can take two weeks.

Moe says testing variants in Saskatchewan will mean more samples can be analyzed more quickly.

Health officials say two more cases of the mutation first identified in the United Kingdom were found in two residents in the Regina area.

The Ministry of Health says they were tested at the end of January and health officials believe there is no link to travel.

The province also reported its first case of the strain initially found in South Africa in a resident who was tested last month and lives in a region that includes Prince Albert.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021

The Canadian Press