Houston: Government needs to commit to meeting their testing goals

While Dr. Robert Strang continues to push Nova Scotians to take care of each other after all but confirming community spread, Stephen McNeil has come up short on providing resources to keep the province safe.


On October 6th, the Premier told Nova Scotians that his government would process 2,500 tests per day by mid-November, but the province has refused to test at airports and has struggled to break 1,000 tests on most days.


“We are testing well below our capacity,” said Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston. “The province should test individuals who are asymptomatic at pharmacies like other provinces, we should test everyone coming into the province at a point of entry. Then we could test them again if they’ve tested positive. There is much more we can do to minimize the spread.”


Back in the summer, the PCs previously called for mobile testing at Nova Scotia schools.


A study yesterday from McMaster HealthLabs tested over 8,600 international travellers at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. It found a 1% positivity rate of Covid-19, with 0.7% detected on arrival at the airport, 0.3% detected on day 7, and less than 0.1% detected on day 14.


“COVID-19 isn’t going away.” says Houston “Travel in the near future will likely require either testing or proof of vaccination and it’s time that the Premier catches up and listens to the science and data. It’s the only way to keep us safe and rebuild our economy.”


Nova Scotia is the second last in cumulative testing per capita in the country, and with the second wave here, people across the province are wondering why we didn’t increase capacity when times were good. With $228 million in federal COVID-19 stimulus funding from Ottawa still unaccounted for, members of the media have asked for a breakdown of the money. The Premier told them: “I’m not your research department.”


For Houston, that money should be used to keep people safe through testing.


“Is it a money issue?” Houston asked. “Is Premier McNeil not spending the money that Prime Minister Trudeau sent down? This isn’t a time to be stingy while Nova Scotians are fighting hard to keep cases low. When we aren’t close to reaching testing levels, we have to ask why.”