News release

Update on Asymptomatic Testing, New Workplace Testing Initiative

The province continues to expand its asymptomatic testing strategy with the new Nova Scotia COVID-19 Rapid Screening Program for Workplaces.

The program supports employers across the province to put in place regular screening for their staff.

“Asymptomatic testing is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of COVID-19 and supports the provincial reopening plan by adding an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of the virus in workplaces,” said Premier Iain Rankin. “Nova Scotia continues to be a national leader in asymptomatic testing, and everyone should make getting tested a regular part of their routine.”

Nova Scotia has partnered with the Chambers of Commerce from across Nova Scotia, the seven Regional Enterprise Networks, CDL Rapid Screening Consortium and the federal government.

So far, 275 businesses and organizations representing more than 50,000 employees have signed up to take part.

To participate, they must have a testing plan approved by the Department of Health and Wellness in place. Test kits are provided by the province for free through the federal government.

Interested employers can learn more about the program and how to sign up at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/working-during-covid-19/

In addition to the expansion of workplace testing, other asymptomatic testing streams that help to detect COVID-19 cases early include:

  • rapid pop-up testing locations across the province
  • mobile pop-up units, through a partnership with the Halifax Regional Municipality, that will be going to outdoor venues
  • professional truck drivers can pick up a self-test kit from their employer before they leave Nova Scotia. When they return, they can stop at several convenient locations around the province, do the self-test and leave their sample there
  • voluntary airport testing for anyone flying into Nova Scotia. Travellers are provided with COVID-19 testing at the airport or can self-administer a test at their isolation location
  • primary assessment centres managed by the Nova Scotia Health Authority
  • public health mobile units managed by the Nova Scotia Health Authority to provide access to testing in rural communities or areas with an increase in positive cases
  • bi-weekly facility-based testing for staff in places such as licensed long-term care settings and provincial correctional facilities.
  • supporting diverse communities to access rapid testing

Regular COVID-19 testing remains an important part of Nova Scotia’s reopening plan, even among people who are vaccinated.

The province is also renewing its contract with Praxes Medical Group until the end of August. Praxes has been supporting Nova Scotia’s asymptomatic testing strategy since Dec. 7, 2020 by offering rapid testing at more than 240 pop-up locations. They also provide arrival testing for temporary foreign workers, training for specialized groups and support urgent testing needs, including outbreak related testing, when requested by public health.

Quotes:

Regular, no symptom COVID testing now, and into the future, is an important tool to prevent surges in COVID cases. Along with vaccines, making sure people have easy access to testing helps them establish a regular schedule. Pop-up sites are a key testing option for those who like a rapid, no appointment, quick reply test – run by our very own Nova Scotian community volunteers. Dr. Lisa Barrett, clinician scientist and viral immunologist, Nova Scotia Health Authority

We would encourage any and all employers to participate in the workplace testing program, as we need to protect our employees, their families and the broader community. We all need to do our part and we are extremely pleased that we as employers have another tool in the fight against COVID-19. Osborne Burke, general manager, Victoria Co-operative Fisheries Limited

Quick Facts:

  • some of the participating organizations include food processing plants, restaurant and food industry, retail, transportation and construction
  • rapid asymptomatic testing was launched in Nova Scotia on Nov. 21, 2020. To date over 250,000 tests have been administered across the province

Additional Resources:

A list of the primary assessment centre locations and hours can be found online at: https://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirustesting

A list of the upcoming rapid pop-up testing locations and hours can be found online at:
https://www.nshealth.ca/service-details/COVID-19%20Rapid%20Testing

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