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Nova Scotia to resume PCR testing for those with a positive rapid test

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia to lift all COVID-19 restrictions next month' Nova Scotia to lift all COVID-19 restrictions next month
Nova Scotia will lift all COVID-19 restrictions next month, and that includes mask requirements. The province is also ending its proof of vaccination requirements for non-essential events and activities beginning Monday. Callum Smith has more on how the province is learning to live with COVID-19 – Feb 23, 2022

After nearly two months, Nova Scotia will resume confirmation PCR testing for those who test positive for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test.

Nova Scotia ended confirmation PCR testing at the end of December due to “the extremely high testing demands on the lab” as case counts exploded thanks to the Omicron variant.

Because of a limited supply of PCR tests, the province at the time told residents that those who test positive using a rapid test should assume they’re positive and inform Public Health of their test result through email.

Read more: N.S. to lift all COVID-19 restrictions on March 21, proof of vaccination gone Feb. 28

Yet on Thursday, the province said it continues to see a decline in new COVID-19 cases, and thus a lower number of PCR tests being performed.

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“As a result, Nova Scotia Health’s microbiology lab now has the capacity to resume confirmation PCR testing for those who test positive on a COVID-19 rapid antigen test,” it said in a release.

Those who test positive on a rapid antigen test can choose either to self-isolate as a positive case or get a confirmation PCR test.

“If the confirmation PCR test is negative, they are not required to isolate and can resume normal activities (as long as they have no symptoms or once their symptoms are improving and they have no fever for at least 24 hours),” the release said.

Read more: Cautious optimism surrounds return of cruise ships to Atlantic region

“If their confirmation PCR test is positive, they are required to isolate as per Public Health guidelines.”

The province said the option to have a confirmation PCR test “will reduce situations in which people are isolating when they don’t need to.”

It said the change will likely result in a higher number of reported cases since case numbers are based on PCR tests rather than rapid tests.

“This increase should be considered a more accurate picture of reported cases in Nova Scotia, rather than a reflection of a new surge of COVID-19 cases,” it said.

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