Nova Scotia

Nova Scotians no longer have to call 811 to see if they need a COVID-19 test

As of today, Nova Scotians can do a self-assessment online instead of calling 811 to find out if they meet the requirements for a COVID-19 test.

People can now complete self-assessment online instead of calling health line

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal on May 15. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotians no longer need to call 811 to find out if they meet the requirements for a COVID-19 test, according to a news release from the Department of Health.

The health line faced large call volumes in September, and frustrations mounted as some people were unable to get through or had to wait days before being booked for a COVID test.

Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters following Thursday's cabinet meeting that those frustrations were part of the reason the province is making this change to the testing process. As of today, people can now do a COVID-19 self-assessment online, which will reduce the wait time to be screened for testing from 12 hours to about 10 minutes, according to the government.

"It just eliminates that one extra step," said McNeil. "There was too many people between you and getting your appointment. This online portal will speed that up."

If the online self-assessment determines the person does meet the requirements for a test, they'll be contacted by the Nova Scotia Health Authority or the IWK within 24 to 48 hours to schedule an appointment. 811 will still take calls from people without internet access or who would like to speak to a nurse about their symptoms, the release said.

Tracing app on the way

McNeil also confirmed Thursday that the province is signing on to participate in the federal COVID-19 tracing app. He said there are a few details to work out and then it will be formally announced. 

NDP Leader Gary Burrill said he was pleased to see improvements to the testing system, but he remains concerned that there is not a dedicated testing system for schools.

"This should be fast tracked and double focused because of the number of things we know have to shut right down while children from school are waiting to get tests," he said.

No new cases Thursday

No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Nova Scotia today, after the province's testing labs completed 977 tests on Wednesday.

One new case was reported Wednesday, bringing the total known active cases in the province to two.

Of those cases, one person remains hospitalized and in intensive care, the release said.

To date, the province has recorded 95,244 negative test results and 1,088 positive test results. Sixty-five people have died as a result of the virus.

The latest numbers from around the Atlantic bubble are:

Symptoms

Anyone with one of the following symptoms of COVID-19 should visit the COVID-19 self-assessment website or call 811:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.

Anyone with two or more of the following symptoms is also asked to visit the 811 website:

  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.

With files from Michael Gorman

now