COVID-19 surge in Nova Scotia straining province's testing capacity

·1 min read

HALIFAX — High infection numbers in Nova Scotia driven by the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus are forcing health officials to change their approach to COVID-19 testing.

Starting Monday, residents who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who are close contacts of people who have tested positive will need to complete an online self-assessment to find out whether they need a PCR test or a rapid test.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said today in a news release that the province has "finite resources" for lab-based testing and a limited supply of rapid tests.

He says Nova Scotians were encouraged to use rapid tests before gathering with others.

But he says the recent surge in cases is straining the province's testing capacity and that rapid tests or PCR testing should be prioritized for people who have symptoms or who have been identified as close contacts.

Nova Scotia reported a record single-day high of 689 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

"Our priority for PCR testing has to be on people who are most vulnerable to disease and people who are needed to keep our health-care system running," Strang said. "But everyone who needs a COVID-19 test will get one."

"For at least the next few weeks, everyone needs to limit socializing to their consistent group of 10, which includes their own household, so there shouldn't be a need for a lot of testing for social occasions," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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