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Nova Scotia reporting 2 COVID-19 cases on Saturday

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Nova Scotia is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday as the province’s active case count climbs back up to double digits.

There are now 10 active cases in the province.

Both cases are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada with one new case located in the province’s western zone and the other located in the northern zone.

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Health officials say both individuals are self-isolating.

“While our cases remain low, we only need to look at neighbouring provinces to see how quickly that can change,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in a press release.

“While we enjoy this long weekend, let’s continue to be vigilant by following all of the public health measures to keep each other safe.”

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Nova Scotia has reported 1,592 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, of which 1,517 are considered to be resolved.

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There have been 65 COVID-19-related deaths in the province.

One person is in hospital as of Saturday. They are in the intensive care unit at this time.

Infectious disease expert and Dalhousie scientist Dr. Lisa Barrett says asymptomatic testing is a way to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and says the strict 14-day quarantine has helped Nova Scotia keep its active case count low.

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“I think one of the things we’ve done really well, is we’ve held to our guns on the strict 14-day quarantine for anyone coming into the province and then making sure lots of people get tested,” said Barrett.

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Barrett and Nova Scotia public health were hosting a Valentine’s-themed rapid popup testing clinic Saturday at the Halifax Convention Centre and says testing a large population of asymptomatic people is a good way to measure for COVID-19 and for the variant in the community.

Barrett is from Newfoundland and Labrador and says she’s concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak back home.

The numbers continue to climb in that province with health officials confirming the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant, first detected in the U.K., as being the cause of the explosion in recent cases.

“No symptoms or asymptomatic testing was not a large part of what they (Newfoundland) were doing,” said Barrett. “It’s worked for us but hopefully now, once they get things calmed down, that it can work for them as well.”

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Research on the U.K. and South African variants have shown they are more infectious. Although that’s bad news, it doesn’t change the public health protocols Nova Scotians should be following says Barrett. She says an aggressive asymptomatic testing strategy increases protection against the virus.

“High numbers of tests keep the virus low, by keeping cases low.,” said Barrett. “This is preventative medicine at its finest and public health at its finest.”

The QE ll microbiology lab in Halifax completed 1,322 tests on Friday, while last week there were more than 1,000 rapid popup tests completed at sites in Amherst, Cole Harbour, Halifax and Tantallon.

“Getting tested regularly is important to catch cases early and limit the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, in a press release.

“Even if you don’t have symptoms, I encourage Nova Scotians make a habit of dropping into a popup testing site or booking an appointment at one of the primary assessment centres.

There are two popup rapid testing sites being held on Saturday.

The sites are intended for those who do not have symptoms, have not travelled, have not visited a potential exposure location and have not been in contact with someone who has had a positive test.

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There is one being held at the Kentville Volunteer Fire Department auditorium in Kentville, N.S., from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In Halifax, there is a popup testing site being run at the Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street, from 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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A popup site will be run on Sunday at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 20 in Digby, N.S., from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia Health completed 1,322 tests on Friday. That moves the province to 301,961 completed tests since the pandemic began.

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