Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia can now complete COVID-19 testing at QEII

Nova Scotia can now complete COVID-19 testing at the QEII Health Science Centre’s Microbiology Lab in Halifax — eliminating the need to send tests to Winnipeg for confirmation.

'It will speed up our ability to let people know the status of their test results,' says Dr. Robert Strang

Dr. Robert Strang is the province's chief medical officer of health. (Province of Nova Scotia)

Nova Scotia can now complete COVID-19 testing at the QEII Health Science Centre's Microbiology Lab in Halifax, the province's chief medical officer of health said at a briefing Sunday.

"This is a good thing," said Dr. Robert Strang. "Our tests will no longer have to be sent to the National Microbiology Lab for confirmation and it will speed up our ability to let people know the status of their test results."

Initially, presumed positives could only be confirmed at the national lab in Winnipeg. Confirmation from Winnipeg can take up to 48 hours.

Brendan Elliott, a spokesperson with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, said test results can now be confirmed within 24 hours.

Elliott said Nova Scotia is not testing samples from other Atlantic provinces but is assisting Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, the French archipelago near Newfoundland, with COVID-19 tests.

More than 2,100 tests

As of Sunday, Nova Scotia had tested 2,116 people for the virus.

The news comes the same day Premier Stephen McNeil issued a provincial state of emergency.

"We must continue to act and use every tool available to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and the virus's significant impact on our health-care system," McNeil said.

McNeil stated that people can no longer gather in groups of more than five and people who have travelled anywhere outside the province must self-isolate for 14 days upon returning.

Testing is reserved for people who have travelled outside of Nova Scotia or have had close contact with people who have travelled and are experiencing symptoms, including a fever and a new, dry cough.

Those individuals must call 811 or visit the 811 website to be assessed and will then be directed to testing centres established by the Nova Scotia Health Authority if deemed necessary.

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