Houston: No COVID-19 app, slow testing will create problems during second wave

Progressive Conservatives are saying “no” to the Liberal government’s long-standing plans to open Nova Scotia to the rest of Canada.


PC Leader Tim Houston says that bursting the Atlantic Bubble shouldn’t even be a consideration until the government can confidently meet the following requirements:


  • Make the COVID-19 app available for those who want it.
  • Have rapid testing for seniors, students, and essential workers.
  • Properly support 811 services to keep up with the demand.
  • Make testing available at all major points of entry.
  • Ensure Nova Scotians are able to get test results within 72 hours.


“We can’t even begin to have a discussion about opening our borders,” says Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston. “Nova Scotians expect their government to get a handle on the current demand for testing before increasing our risk of exposure.”


Across the province, Nova Scotians continue to see delays in testing results. In Cumberland County and in Kings, residents waited up to a week to receive results. Karla MacFarlane, PC critic for Health care, says the McNeil Liberals haven’t put the work in to be ready to open up.


“The government can’t keep up with demand when there are no cases,” said MacFarlane. “What would they do if the borders were open? By not accepting and addressing the stress on the healthcare system, the Liberals have left Nova Scotia with no option but to stay closed.”


On July 24 Premier Stephen McNeil indicated it was only a matter of time before the border opened, before backtracking. Testing capacity hasn’t increased in months, there are no plans to begin rapid testing, and the federal COVID-19 app - which has been helpful in other provinces at preventing spread - has not been made available in Nova Scotia.


“As we see cases of COVID-19 climbing across Canada, it is important that the government continues to plan and prepare for any possible outbreak,” says Houston. “Establishing clear goals moving forward will reduce confusion and anxiety for the continued safety of our region.”


Because of the rising cases of COVID-19, New Brunswick recently closed its borders to one of the regions of Quebec that were accepted into the Atlantic Bubble. Quebec has now moved three regions into the red zone for their COVID alert system.


“Dr. Strang has indicated that this pandemic may last for years,” said MacFarlane. “It’s time the government starts communicating the steps they’ve taken, or be upfront with the public about their failure to plan for the second wave. ”