Some Nova Scotians worried about lack of asymptomatic COVID-19 testing options

There are a little more than 600 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia on Friday.

“There’s lots of cases in daycare centres currently,” says Donna Buckland, who operates a private daycare.

Buckland says the new government policies have removed rapid testing options from childcare facilities.

“I would love to see some better PPE. I’d love to see the KN95 masks at some point for childcare workers.... we are the only industry where our staff work with unmasked and unvaccinated public,” Buckland says.

A statement from Nova Scotia's Department of Health and Wellness states that most workplace testing has been paused, but adds the province's strategy is not written in stone.

The statement goes on to say “the program parameters will be re-evaluated in the context of our broader testing strategy once the current Omicron wave subsides.”

Rapid testing is continuing in correctional facilities, Department of Community Services and funded facilities, and in continuing care.

According to the executive director of the Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association, testing is being done, but not as often as previously.

“Rather than test more frequently, we are testing less frequently with twice a week or when required, and we are not using rapid testing for residents. Rather, we are watching for symptoms, monitoring and using PCR testing in those cases,” says Michele Lowe, executive director of Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association.

The change in the province's testing strategy is creating some confusion.

Nova Scotia's NDP Leader, Gary Burrill, says his concern isn't so much with the policies of the Department of Health and Wellness, but instead how those policies are being communicated.

“There’s a great responsibility on the government to speak on the issues related to testing with every bit of clarity, consistency, coherency that can be mustered,” Burrill says.

According to Burrill, the core problem with the reduction in rapid testing is the result of a lack of supply provided by the federal government.