Nova Scotia has ramped up testing as post-secondary students begin to return to the province for the upcoming school year.
On Friday, the province reported it had completed 1,058 Nova Scotia tests on Thursday at the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab.
A review of Nova Scotia’s daily coronavirus updates indicates its only the fourth time that the province has completed more than 1,000 tests since Nova Scotia announced an expanded testing regime on April 5.
The announcement at the time touted that the lab at the QEII would be moving to “full 24-hour operations” and be capable of “processing over 1,000 tests per day.”
Since then, the province has only processed more than 1,000 tests on April 13, when it completed 1,476 tests and reported 43 new cases; April 15, when it completed 1,065 tests and reported 30 new cases; and May 27, when it completed 1,136 tests and reported two new cases.
The last time health officials completed more than 1,000 tests was on May 28.
On that date, the province reported no new coronavirus cases. At the time, Nova Scotia was still coming down from its peak number of new cases and the outbreak at Northwood Manor in Halifax was ongoing.
The province says the number of tests has increased throughout this week as a result of post-secondary students returning to Nova Scotia ahead of a new school year.
Health officials have instituted three mandatory tests for students arriving from outside the Atlantic bubble in addition to the 14-day self-isolation period.
Even if all three test results come back as negative, the 14-day isolation period must be completed.
Students cannot attend in-person classes until their testing and self-isolation are complete and they receive negative test results.
At the time of the announcement, the premier said the province wanted to make sure they detect any “asymptomatic” carriers of the virus.
However, the policy has not been without criticism.
In order to receive the three COVID-19 tests, some students will be required to break their self-isolation and travel to a testing centre. Students aren’t allowed to make any steps on the way to or from the testing centre.
Other students — depending on their school — may have staff come to them in order to have the tests administered.
Students have voiced concerns that leaving self-isolation defeats the purpose of self-isolating.
At least one student is alleged to have broken the mandatory 14-day quarantine. The St. Francis Xavier University student is now facing a $1,000 fine.
Nova Scotia officials did not answer when asked whether testing is expected to continue at more than 1,000 tests a day.