Canadian Armed Forces providing essential support at Nova Scotia's COVID-19 testing centres
HALIFAX -- Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are now helping at Nova Scotia's COVID-19 testing sites in Halifax and surrounding areas.
The reinforcements were announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a live news conference.
"Across Nova Scotia, and especially in the Halifax region, numbers have risen quickly and the province requested help so... we're sending support," said Trudeau on Tuesday. "We’re deploying 60 Canadian Armed Forces members to testing centres in Nova Scotia. This will help stop the spread of the virus."
Chief Petty Officer Jake Lowther is one of 50 navy volunteers helping with province's testing centres. He says volunteers came from across the entire fleet and are ready to help where and when needed.
"The Royal Canadian Navy is here to help," said Lowther. "Essentially, the team here is going to be doing some of the sanitizing, the cleaning."
The Royal Canadian Navy will be assisting at the Zatzman Sportsplex in Dartmouth, N.S. and the Canada Games Centre in Halifax.
Army personnel will be at testing sites across the rest of Nova Scotia. All of those individuals will be vaccinated prior to their first shift.
People operating the testing clinics in Nova Scotia say the extra support is exactly what they needed during a time of demand.
"It's freeing up other people to do registration, to even just get the patients through in a more efficient manner so we're able to swab as many people as we can," said Jamey Martell, who helps operate one of the testing sites.
The number of COVID-19 tests completed in Nova Scotia has reached record levels this week. However, due to the increase in testing, there are some delays in analyzing the samples.
"As the number of tests that have been submitted daily exceed 15,000, we will see a delay in testing but are working to rectify that,” says Dr. Todd Hatchett, the chief of Nova Scotia Health Authority's division of microbiology, in a written statement.
In addition to the military support, public health is relying on a large number of volunteers at all of their testing sites.
"I'm not a doctor, I am not a scientist, I can't cure COVID-19, but I kind of feel like it's my civic duty that I can help as much as I can," said Maggie Archibald, who volunteers at a testing site.
The Armed Forces personnel will be assisting at Nova Scotia's testing sites for at least the next month.
Lowther says his team and the others are prepared to stay longer if required.