Province’s top doctor encourages all Nova Scotians to get tested for COVID-19

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WATCH: As Nova Scotia continues to report low numbers of active COVID-19 cases, the province's top doctor is reminding residents not to get complacent. He's also encouraging to take advantage of COVID-19 testing availability, even without symptoms. Jesse Thomas reports. – Feb 4, 2021

With just 10 active cases in the province, Nova Scotia is perhaps not only the envy of other Canadian provinces, but of other countries worldwide as well.

But still, the province’s top doctor is asking all Nova Scotians to not get complacent and consider getting a COVID-19 test regardless of if they have symptoms or not.

“We really encourage people to take advantage and to build testing in as part of their ongoing COVID protocols, just like wearing a mask and physically distancing,” said Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang.

Strang raised the issued a Wednesday at the COVID-19 press briefing, encouraging Nova Scotians to book a test, saying the province has the capacity to be complete more tests than the province is currently processing.

Read more: Coronavirus: Nova Scotia updates its COVID-19 vaccination plan

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The QEll laboratory processed just 854 tests Wednesday and that number could be tripled, said Strang.

“I’d love to see us have 2,500 tests a day with the majority of those people being with asymptomatic testing.”

Nova Scotia has recorded 495 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths since October 1st, with two people currently in hospital, one in the ICU.

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Strang says just because we’re seeing low case numbers, it doesn’t mean there aren’t more cases in the community and asymptomatic testing is a tool that can help identify for any signs of Covid in early.

“I want to encourage everyone, especially people with a high number of contacts, to make asymptomatic testing part of their regular routine,” said Strang. “Testing is one way to stop COVID-19 before it has a chance to spread.”

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Dr. Lisa Barrett along with Nova Scotia Public Health has been running pop-up COVID-19 testing sites across the province and says she’s noticed a decline in people getting swabbed recently and attributes that to the low active case numbers.

Barrett says asymptomatic will remain an integral part of keeping COVID-19 cases low, especially when the province begins to further ease public health restrictions.

“I think our busiest day at on one of the pop-ups was, around 1142 tests in six or seven hours and that felt easy even at those early times,” said Barrett.

Recently some of the pop-up testing sites have seen as few as 50 to 70 people getting tested, but they’ll continue to run operate the rapid testing sites and encourage people to consider attending.

“As restaurants and businesses open up, getting testing out there with pop-ups is part of what we hope people are going to see as normal human behaviour and your normal, usual security,” said Barrett.

Read more: Nova Scotia’s active COVID-19 case count at 10 Thursday as residents urged to get tested

The COVID-19 drive-thru testing unit in Dartmouth has been operating at 50-per cent capacity, said Harold Taylor, a health services manager with Nova Scotia Health, on a normal day they can move 500 cars through its testing facility.

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“The bookings are about five minutes apart, so that’s really all it takes,” said Taylor. “The car comes in, the staff is already prepared with the documentation and they swabbing, they come in and get swabbed and they are on their way.”

To book a Covid test call 8-1-1 or visit the Nova Scotia Health website to find a pop-up clinic.


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