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NSH opens winterized drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Dartmouth General

Nova Scotia Health has opened a newly winterized drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at the Dartmouth General. Stephen Harding/Twitter

Nova Scotia Health has opened a new winterized drive-thru COVID-19 testing site this week.

Winter has officially started and although the weather has yet to reach the depths of the chilliest season, Nova Scotia Health is already ready to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at the province.

Read more: 4 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Nova Scotia, 28 active cases remain

Unlike last year, which saw COVID-19 testing being conducted in a temporary tented area in March, officials say the new setup will protect not just those being tested for the coronavirus but its workers as well.

“We’re in an enclosed, enclosed environment that makes it much more efficient for both patients and staff,” Harold Taylor, a health services manager with Nova Scotia Health, said in an interview with Global News on Wednesday.

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The tents were serviceable but Taylor admits that there were a few times during the summer months where they had to close the facility due to high winds.

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But the upgraded and weather-hardened facility means that they’ll not just be able to work day in and day out if necessary but that they’ll also be able to do so much more efficiently.

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Testing workers will have easy access to their supplies and that means a much quicker turnaround for workers and for those receiving tests.

“We will be able to do now four (vehicles) at a time so our numbers can actually reach just shy of 500 in the run of the day shift,” Taylor told Global News.

“Patients are much more happier, too, because they’re in their own environment, they’re in their own vehicle. They don’t have to navigate parking. They don’t have to actually sit in a waiting room with a bunch of other individuals.”

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The entire process of testing is now expected to only take between five and seven minutes.