'I liked it, it's a little less invasive'; take-home COVID-19 testing kits available in N.S.
As a health-care worker, July Lugar is no stranger to COVID-19 tests, but when she popped into the Halifax Convention Centre Monday, Lugar was surprised to learn she could now test herself for the virus.
"I wasn't expecting to be able to test myself but I liked it, it's a little less invasive," she said.
As part of a pilot program, take-home testing kits are available at pop-up testing sites, like the convention centre.
"It started about a week or more ago and it allows people to come in and learn how to do the nasal swabs themselves and we actually it's guided, they can learn from the swabber and they can take the test home and do it themselves as their second test of that week," said Ondra Dejager, site lead at the centre.
"It incorporates it into their daily life which is what is key right now."
With low case numbers, testing sites aren't as busy as they were a few months ago.
"The testing's been good," said Dejager. "We could always use more people coming out and incorporating this into their day to day life. We find testing is very important for catching COVID and just making sure people are protecting themselves and those around them especially as things open up."
More than 200 companies in Nova Scotia are now providing rapid testing for their employees on site.
"Rapid testing is easy to do, it's easy to set up, it's easy for your employees to do and it keeps them safe, keeps their families safe," said Patrick Sullivan, CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.
"We need to ensure that we're ready in case there's a next time as we move forward and begin to live with COVID."
The Halifax Chamber of Commerce is one of the organizations providing rapid-testing kits and PPE, like facemasks and gowns free of charge to businesses.
"People do need ensure that they keep doing the testing. You know, we're not out of COVID. We could be back into COVID sometime in the future so having this if you will tool in their tool kit to ensure that they can remain open and safe for their employees I think is really, really important," said Sullivan.
Since the rapid-testing program started for businesses a few months ago, more than 150,000 tests have been sent to organizations across the province.