Tim Houston: ‘half a million rapid tests could be used in rural areas and at airports’

“The resources that we have shouldn’t be sitting in boxes on shelves. They should be out in communities helping us fight COVID-19.”

That’s the message from PC Leader Tim Houston, who is calling for the roughly 500,000 unused rapid tests that Nova Scotia has in storage to be deployed in rural communities, and at our airports to test travellers as they land.

With asymptomatic testing at primary assessment centres severely slowed, Houston praised Dr. Lisa Barrett for her incredible work championing rapid testing. Since last year she urged the public to take advantage of that form of testing, with the government eventually following suit.

Houston says the number of positive cases identified at these sites should be highlighted daily to encourage and showcase their benefit, and testing locations should be expanded by the Premier in rural areas.

“With a backlog of tests, rapid testing became the only option for asymptomatic screening," says Houston. "It’s unfortunate that the Liberal government doesn’t share the sense of urgency that Nova Scotians feel to make rapid testing available in all parts of the province. Tests should not be sitting, unused, in a stockpile,” says Houston.

Houston has long said testing at Stanfield Airport is key to catching the virus as it enters the province where exposure notifications are routinely posted on the NSHA website asking travellers to self-isolate.

"Testing at airports will identify spread at the first possible opportunity," said Houston. "We must make it as easy as possible for everyone, everywhere to get tested and fight this pandemic together.”