COVID-19 testing jumps in eastern zone as community spread confirmed in Sydney

·2 min read
Rapid tests for COVID-19 are available in the eastern health zone. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Rapid tests for COVID-19 are available in the eastern health zone. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The number of people getting tested for COVID-19 is on the rise in Nova Scotia's eastern health zone, where community spread has been identified in Sydney.

Health officials put a call out for more testing due to an uptick in the number of cases in the region, particularly in Sydney where there are positive COVID-19 cases with no known origin.

Andrew Heighton of Nova Scotia Health said Thursday more than 2,000 tests have been completed in the eastern zone within the last 24 hours. That's up from about 200 to 300 tests daily.

Heighton suggested making testing part of a regular routine.

"[People] can get tested once a week or once every 14 days," he told CBC Radio's Information Morning Cape Breton. "That's going to determine what are the areas of concern that we need to look at."

Cab rides available

Within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, most of the testing is taking place in Sydney. There are limited options for testing outside the community.

Heighton said the health authority is co-ordinating with cab companies to give people a lift to testing sites, including in the Sydney area.

"We do have conversations going on outside of Sydney, as well, with Glace Bay and New Waterford," he said.

To arrange a taxi ride to a COVID-19 testing appointment, people can call 1-844-996-0694 or 811.

Nova Scotia Health is also working with the Ally Centre on Bentinck Street in Sydney to provide testing to clients who are unable to travel.

11 new cases Thursday

The province reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 in the eastern zone Thursday, for a total of 132 active cases in that region.

In Sydney, the group most affected by unknown transmission has been people between the ages of 20 and 30.

Heighton said more testing is needed in order to keep a handle on where cases are appearing.

He said the growing number of people getting tested is welcome news after a recent decline in tests being conducted.

Last time there was a call for COVID-19 testing in the Sydney area, a high volume of tests resulted in a laboratory backlog.

Heighton said there is now rapid testing available. Rapid tests are read on-site and can provide negative or positive results within an hour.

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