No new COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday, N.S. introduces more improvements in testing

Premier Stephen McNeil announced that Nova Scotia is introducing more improvements in COVID-19 testing after reporting no new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday. 

Stephen McNeil wearing a suit and tie


“Testing is an important part of the public health measures,” said McNeil. “Our testing strategy has been working very well, but there are always improvements we can make. These changes will allow people to be tested easier and faster.”


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Read more: No new cases of COVID-19 reported in N.S. on Monday

According to McNeil, the IWK Health Centre will expand its primary assessment centre to double its capacity and increase the speed of testing for children. The expansion will be fully operational by the third week of October.

The IWK will also start using the gargle test on Wednesday to diagnose COVID-19 in children ages four to 18.

The province said the gargle test is a more comfortable test for children. Once it has piloted the process, the gargle test will soon be available for children at all primary assessment centres.

Read more: Hosts charged after RCMP disperse 3 Antigonish parties with more than 50 people

With online COVID-19 self-assessment now in place, online booking for testing appointments will also be established.

“It will dramatically reduce the wait time to book an appointment. The online process will take about 10 minutes, down from 24 to 48 hours,” the province stated.

The province announced other improvements, including:

Expanding most primary assessment centres around the province with larger locations, longer hours and more staff so that Nova Scotians can get tested faster.

Increasing lab capacity in Halifax to process 2,500 tests per day by mid-November.

Adding equipment in Sydney in early November to eventually process tests instead of sending them to Halifax.

“Testing is a key part of our overall COVID-19

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NC Coronavirus: COVID 19 cases still increasing in nursing homes as officials loosen visitor restrictions

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have been hot spots for the novel coronavirus.

Not only do these facilities bring people into close quarters where the virus can spread more easily, but Catherine Sevier, the president of the North Carolina chapter for AARP, said residents in these facilities are some of the most vulnerable to the infection.

“The biggest risk factor for dying from COVID is being older, having a comorbid condition, having another condition that puts you at risk and then being in congregate living,” Sevier said. “So when you put those three things together, that is ‘nursing home’ in bright lights.”

Back in April, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper instituted strict restrictions for nursing homes, banning visitors and closing common spaces to limit the spread of the virus. However, cases still began to spread throughout the facilities.

In early May, weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes increased by 20%. By the end of that month, more than 3,000 residents were infected and more than 400 were dead.

Now, nursing home residents account for 40% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. In September, cases and deaths increased by nearly 7% and 31 facilities reported new outbreaks.

According to data submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in the last two months, 104 nursing homes statewide reported three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases in a week. Ninety-three nursing homes reported their first case in the last two months.

But Sevier said isolating residents can have detrimental psychological impacts, and he believes plans to reopen to some degree are necessary for patient and family peace of mind.

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“We’ve now realized

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Larimer county nursing homes report no COVID cases

Nursing homes in Larimer County report that they can be removed from the COVID-19 outbreak list.

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, no nursing homes in Larimer County had active coronavirus outbreaks as of Wednesday, according to weekly outbreak data released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

It’s a milestone administrators say was achieved through widespread testing and hard work, but they acknowledge outbreaks could recur as the weather turns cold.  

> The video above was aired on Sept. 3 addressing Colorado’s guidelines for indoor visits at nursing homes.

A facility has to have zero reported COVID-19 cases for 28 days or have 100% negative tests for every resident and every staff member before they are removed from the outbreak list.

RELATED: Here is the official state guidance for indoor visits at nursing homes

One of the hardest-hit facilities in the county, Columbine West, had 46 positive cases among residents and staff, with six deaths confirmed or likely due to the virus. The outbreak spread fast in late August. 

> Read the full story here at the Coloradoan.

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RELATED: List of coronavirus outbreaks at Colorado schools, events, restaurants and more

RELATED: Colorado coronavirus latest numbers, Oct. 1


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California nursing homes required to report COVID-19 cases


Katie Finn stays in virtual contact with her grandmother in nursing home.

Palm Springs Desert Sun

Plagued by some of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks, skilled nursing facilities in California will now be expected to do more to prevent the spread of infectious diseases from spreading thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday. 

AB-2644, which was introduced by Assemblymember Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa, in February, aims to protect residents as well as health care workers by requiring additional staffing and increasing reporting requirements. It requires each facility to have a full-time staff member, or the equivalent, dedicated to infection prevention and control.

It also requires facilities to report each disease-related death to the California Department of Public Health within 24 hours, and requires the state tomake the total number of deaths available on its website weekly. 

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“The close living quarters in these facilities makes residents and health care workers extremely vulnerable to infectious diseases and we know that the use of best practices for infection control can reduce their chances of becoming ill and they deserve that protection,” Wood said in a statement earlier this summer. 

Skilled nursing facilities were already required to adopt and implement an antimicrobial stewardship policy in line with guidelines developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or other specified professional organizations, according to the legislative counsel’s digest.


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400+ Baileyville mill workers tested for COVID-19 after cases found among out-of-state contractors

More than 400 employees at the Woodland Pulp mill in Baileyville are being tested for COVID-19 after at least seven out-of-state contractors tested positive for the virus. 

© Provided by WCSH-TV Portland, ME

Mill officials were notified of the positive cases Tuesday after the workers from a New York company were among at least 600 subcontractors brought in for routine maintenance to the facility last week. 

The contractors were tested after leaving the state, according to Woodland Pulp spokesperson Scott Beal. 

One local worker has since tested positive for the virus. Beal said of 25 people identified a ‘close contacts’ to the positive cases 20 have tested negative for the virus. 

Woodland Pulp is working with Calais Regional Hospital to test all of its employees Thursday and Friday. 

“We think that’s the most prudent thing we can do for our employees and their families and by extension our local communities,” Beal said. 

The hospital posted to Facebook Wednesday urging the surrounding community to remain calm. 

“Not everyone needs to be tested and conducting testing without cause could delay testing for someone who meets the criteria and possibly an unknown positive,” the hospital said in the posts. 

Hospital officials urged locals to ‘remain vigilant’ and practice mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing.  

This story will be updated. 

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