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Acadia student tests positive for COVID-19 after 14-day self-isolation

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A student at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., has tested positive for COVID-19 after following the province’s mandatory 14-day self-isolation period.

Health officials said on Friday that the student followed all of the rules for travellers arriving from outside Nova Scotia.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief officer of health, said during a briefing on Friday that the incident is a result of the individual becoming infectious late into their quarantine period.

Read more: Nova Scotia reports 4 new COVID-19 cases, says variant cases were detected in December

The student did not get tested for COVID-19 on day six or eight of their quarantine as recommended by Nova Scotia.

But Strang said the student may not have even tested positive for COVID-19 if they had.

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“They likely … became infectious on day 10,” Strang said. “It’s not unusual.”

Strang said that on average, most people become infectious within six to seven days of being exposed to the virus, although others can take longer.

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The student was on campus to attend classes on January 18, 19, and 20 before immediately going to be tested when they began to present symptoms.

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Contact tracing is underway and Strang stressed that the result of the case at Acadia remains low-risk.

Nova Scotia’s top doctor said these type of incidents might occur and that the goal is not to be 100 per cent perfect but instead ensure that cases remain low enough that testing allows them to detect cases before the spread becomes uncontrollable.

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“Quarantine is the main focus [on campuses] but that’s also why we are bringing in testing,” said Strang.
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He confirmed that the province will have pop-up rapid testing sites at Dalhouse on Friday and Saturday and that they’ll be in Cape Breton next Thursday.

They already held pop-up testing in Wolfville earlier this week.

READ MORE: COVID-19 variants could be spreading across Canada. Are labs doing enough to detect them?

As for the student, they are self-isolating once again.

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Strang said the student was not at any location where he would have been exposed to COVID-19 before he entered self-isolation so it’s clear he was exposed before he arrived in Nova Scotia.

In a statement distributed to students Thursday evening, Acadia University said the student had been on campus to attend classes before it was determined they had COVID-19.

Officials are working with the schools to test and inform any close contacts. At this point, there are approximately ten individuals who are considered close contacts, the school said. All are being notified, tested and provided self-isolation instructions.

Anyone else who may have been in immediate proximity with the student will be advised and will be given instructions.