'Go big or go home': Volunteers needed to put together 300,000 COVID testing kits
Testing supplies come from federal government in bulk packaging and need to be transferred to solo packages
With Nova Scotia in the midst of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers are needed to help assemble 300,000 take-home COVID-19 testing kits over the coming weeks to deal with an expected increase in testing needs.
"Go big or go home," said Dr. Lisa Barrett, a clinician scientist and infectious disease doctor at Dalhousie University.
She said the testing supplies provided by the federal government come in bulk packaging and need to be transferred into individual kits, which is why the volunteers are needed.
Barrett said people with all skills and backgrounds can volunteer as the only requirement is being able to put supplies into plastic bags.
People can sign up online and can volunteer for anything from a few hours of assembling to as many shifts as they want. By Sunday, nearly half the shifts had been filled.
The work will take place at the Halifax Regional Centre for Education office in Burnside.
Nova Scotia is in Phase 4 of its reopening plan, with the final phase expected to come on Oct. 4. When the province reaches Phase 5, gathering limits and the requirement to wear masks and maintain physical distancing in indoor public spaces will be lifted.
Barrett said that while reopening plans were based on vaccination rates and epidemiology, the province is facing a challenge.
"The opening plans always were linked to that idea of being in between waves," she said. "We are now in a slightly different position. We're in a wave."
As of last Friday, the last day the province released COVID-19 case numbers, there were 169 active cases. Fourteen people were in hospital, including one in intensive care.
Barrett likened vaccinations to being "the star quarterback on the team of prevention," but said teammates, like masking and testing, are also vital.
"The prevention team has to be in place or we're not going to win this with the fourth wave, not while we have an unvaccinated cohort of under-12 people, as well as a delta variant that increasingly is getting more and more transmittable," she said.
As of Friday, 74.1 per cent of Nova Scotians had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
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