Asymptomatic Testing for Bar Staff and Patrons

The Covid Chronicle

**** HEALTH/WELLNESS Media Release

Asymptomatic Testing for Bar Staff and Patrons
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Government is implementing a broad asymptomatic testing strategy for people who go to or work in late-night bars and restaurants.

As part of this plan, anyone who works in a licensed establishment or went to a bar or restaurant in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) after 10 p.m. in the last two weeks should book a Covid-19 test, even if they don’t have symptoms.

“Most of our recent cases of COVID-19 have been among young people who have been to late-night bars and restaurants,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “This broad testing initiative will help us detect new cases early, get people who test positive to self-isolate and stop the spread of the virus. This is one tool in our toolbox, but it does not diminish how important it is for people to tighten their social circles and activities and follow public health measures.”

People who work in or have been to a bar or restaurant in urban and suburban HRM in the last two weeks are asked to visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to schedule a test. This applies to all bars and restaurants open late and serving alcohol in HRM (except the areas east of Porters Lake), and the Enfield and Mount Uniacke areas in both HRM and Hants County.

People who are tested through this process do not need to self-isolate while they wait for test results as long as they don’t have symptoms.

Asymptomatic testing will be available to staff and patrons of licensed establishments until Monday, Nov. 30. Walk-in testing is not available; people must book in advance. There are limited spaces available. A health card isn’t required for online booking but will be required at the testing appointment.

“This isn’t about blaming or shaming,” said Dr. Strang. “The important thing right now is that people come forward so we can identify as many cases of COVID-19 as we can and take action to reduce the spread.”

A rapid-testing pilot that began on Saturday, Nov. 21 in downtown Halifax will continue this week. These pop-up sites will move to new locations each day. Anyone who gets a positive result from the rapid test will get a standard test and be sent home immediately to self-isolate while they wait for the results.

Quick Facts:
— new gathering limit restrictions are now in place in urban and suburban parts of HRM and Hants County: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/
— a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to Nov. 29
— online test booking is available at primary assessment centres across the province by completing the online assessment at https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/

Additional Resources:
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada information line 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)

For more information about COVID-19 testing and online booking, visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/symptoms-and-testing/

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