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Nova Scotians answering the call for testing as COVID-19 case numbers skyrocket

Click to play video: 'People in the Halifax area adapting to life in lockdown' People in the Halifax area adapting to life in lockdown
WATCH: Health officials say as more people are tested more cases will be identified and isolated to stop the spread, and that’s the big reason why HRM is now in full lockdown mode. It’s a community effort to stop the spread. Graeme Benjamin has more – Apr 23, 2021

As Nova Scotia experiences its highest number of active and daily COVID-19 cases in over a year, those living in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) are answering the call to help stop the spread.

According to the provincial government, 5,956 COVID-19 tests were completed on Thursday, not including rapid tests.

Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist, says 1,625 rapid tests were done at the pop-up centre at the Halifax Convention Centre on Thursday, surpassing their goal of 1,500.

“If we can get two per cent of people tested in this region, where we have lots of cases, by Monday, we’re going to put a dent in this virus that it’s going to find really tough to kick,” Dr. Barrett said in an interview with Global News Morning on Friday.

Read more: Nova Scotia reports 44 new cases of COVID-19, highest single-day total in a year

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The province reported 107 new cases of COVID-19 in just three days. Forty-four were reported on Friday, which is the third highest daily case count in Nova Scotia since the beginning of the pandemic.

The spike in cases resulted in the province issuing a near-full lockdown in the HRM, halting gatherings above five and impacting how many businesses operate.

Dr. Barrett is once again stressing the importance of getting tested in order to get ahead of the virus.

“I’ve taken to calling it instead of COVID-19, COVID-21,” said Dr. Barrett. “(The variants) move faster, they move harder and in younger people. A lot of people don’t know where they’ve gotten this virus, so I hope people see the difference.”

Click to play video: 'Halifax region in “almost full lockdown” as COVID-19 cases skyrocket' Halifax region in “almost full lockdown” as COVID-19 cases skyrocket
Halifax region in “almost full lockdown” as COVID-19 cases skyrocket – Apr 22, 2021

As the effort to combat the third wave continues, businesses in the HRM are finding themselves in familiar territory.

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“It seems like you’re on a hamster wheel, which is super frustrating because you don’t feel like you ever get ahead,” said Devin Sherrington, owner of 360Fit in Dartmouth and Halifax.

Sherrington says he isn’t against the province’s move to issue a partial lockdown, but worries for the mental health of Nova Scotians going through this for a third time.

“I think this one will, unfortunately, be the worst,” he said, but applauds the provincial government and Public Health’s decision to allow outdoor fitness activities to go forward.

“If we can even do a tiny, tiny bit to let people’s stress levels come down and maybe feel a little bit better, that’s amazing.”

Read more: Shuttered HRM businesses frustrated as speculation over reopening lengthens

Gordon Stewart, head of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, says the shutdown didn’t come as a surprise, but concedes that the right move was made.

“We’ve watched B.C., Alberta, Quebec, Ontario. If you don’t get it early and get it fast, you’re going to cause some huge trouble,” said Stewart. “The industry does not like this, but most people understand if we do it now and do it hard we’ll be much better off.”

And though the impact of the third wave remains to be seen, Sherrington is taking an optimistic approach.

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“As long as this is not going to be a long, protracted three-month (lockdown), I feel like we can through it.”

 

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