Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia looking to hire 100 nurses due to COVID-19 demand

Although testing demands in the province slowed to the low hundreds per day in late summer, numbers have recently jumped, topping 800 or more every day this month, as university students have arrived in Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic bubble.

New positions intended to help with pandemic contact tracing and other work

Nova Scotia is looking to hire about 100 new nurses to help keep up with the increase in COVID-19 testing. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia's public health program is boosting its ranks in an effort to keep up with continued demand related to COVID-19.

The program has begun to advertise for 100 public health nurses as well as administrative support across the province to boost capacity for contact tracing and other COVID-19 work. The nursing jobs would be full-time, 12-month terms.

Although testing demands in the province slowed to the low hundreds per day in late summer, numbers have recently spiked. They have topped 800 or more every day this month, as university students have arrived in Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic bubble.

The approximately 3,200 students are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival and take three COVID-19 tests during that time.

A spokesperson for Nova Scotia Health Authority said the aim is to get people working as quickly as possible after they've been hired. The interview process has been streamlined and the orientation and training process takes about three weeks, Brendan Elliott said in an email.

Public Health currently has 154 public health nurses who have received contact tracing training. Elliott said that in May, at the height of the first wave of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, 370 employees (about four times the normal workforce) were focused on COVID-19 case investigation, contact tracing, daily monitoring, calling to inform about negative testing, homelessness support and other COVID-19 work.

"This permits a more robust and efficient use of our human resources based on the need of the day and gives us a greater chance of containing COVID-19," said Elliott.

"For example, a public health nurse may do a detailed COVID-19 case investigation in the morning but then conduct some contact tracing and daily monitoring in the afternoon."

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