Saskatoon lab provides COVID-19 assessments in Sask. at a value

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General manager Heather Deobald said the test costs $150 and has an average turnaround time of between 12 and 48 hours.

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Zak Vescera

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Feb 02, 2021February 3, 20212 minute read Join the conversation Heather Deobald is the general manager at Quantum Genetix, a private laboratory that offers paid COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic people. Heather Deobald is the general manager at Quantum Genetix, a private laboratory that offers paid COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic people. Photo by Matt Smith /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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A Saskatoon business is now offering customers a quicker COVID-19 test — at a price.

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Quantum Genetix, a laboratory on the outskirts of the city near Highway 16, has received approval from the Saskatchewan Health Authority to sell a test to anyone in Saskatchewan, as long as they do not have any symptoms of the virus.

The lab previously was only selling tests to businesses or people who needed proof of a negative test to travel internationally.

The test costs $150 for non-travellers and $195 for travellers. General manager Heather Deobald says the typical turnaround time is between 12 and 48 hours.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority offers testing for free, but it prioritizes people with COVID-19 symptoms, as well as close contacts of confirmed cases.

Deobald said some of her customers are in more of a rush.

“And that’s what people are so happy about, especially businesses. We have some businesses that are routinely testing employees weekly,” she said.

“We have mines, construction, small businesses, dental offices, real estate — I can’t name them all.”

She said about two per cent of clients have tested positive.

The lab can process as many as 350 tests per day but is averaging around 40. It also offers expedited testing — $450 for a result within six hours.

She acknowledged that a negative PCR test isn’t a guarantee that the person does not have COVID-19, since false negatives can occur, but said her service complements the SHA’s own testing.

Clients have different reasons for using the test, she said, giving the example of a person who travels for work and wants a degree of certainty before returning home.

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