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.
“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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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.
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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