COVID-19 Update # 16 from the AFN Health Director | December 9, 2020

Dec 9, 2020

Health Director Update

Update from Nova Scotia Health on first COVID-19 vaccine supply to arrive in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Health has been planning for several weeks to prepare for vaccine distribution, site planning, human resources and other potential requirements. We are now moving into high gear.

Nova Scotia will receive its first allotment of 1950 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine next week and will begin with immunizing healthcare workers most directly involved in the COVID-19 response in Central Zone. The focus for December is Central Zone because the Pfizer vaccine can’t be moved around the province given its strict storage, handling and transportation requirements.

Healthcare workers to be immunized first include those working in COVID-19 care units, Regional Care Units and intensive care units that care for COVID-19 patients. We are committed to ensuring that all healthcare workers are provided access to vaccine as additional supply becomes available.

Nova Scotia Health Occupational Health and Safety will be supporting immunization plans for healthcare workers.

A mass immunization effort of this scale will require significant resources and unparalleled collaboration with partners at federal, provincial and community levels. Many factors that will affect the timeline for distribution, such as vaccine supply, system resources and logistics.

At this time, we are working on our operational plans for vaccination clinics. We commit to sharing updates with you as soon as possible when information becomes available. Thanks for your ongoing patience and understanding.

Booking begins for asymptomatic testing across the province

Starting Tuesday, Dec. 8, Nova Scotians around the province with no COVID-19 symptoms can book appointments for testing. It is mainly recommended for people who have a lot of close social interaction through gatherings or many social contacts.

“This is an opportunity for Nova Scotians to help keep each other safe, especially as we approach the holiday season,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “By getting tested, you can help us limit the potential spread of the virus by detecting positive cases in people who do not have symptoms.”

Asymptomatic testing is available for people who:

  • do not have symptoms
  • have not travelled outside the Atlantic provinces within the past 14 days
  • have not visited a potential exposure location
  • have not been in contact with someone who has tested positive

In Central Zone, people can go to the Zatzman Sportsplex in Dartmouth for an asymptomatic test without an appointment. In all other zones, appointments are required and can be booked at , choosing the asymptomatic option. Appointments can be booked until Dec. 13.

In addition, pop-up sites will continue in different locations around the province. Because they use rapid tests, the age limit is 16 and over at these sites.

People getting tested through this process are not required to self-isolate while waiting for their test or results. People getting tested for other reasons can find their self-isolation requirements at .

time of testing but it does not mean that they could not become infectious in the next few days. People who receive a negative test result must continue to follow public health measures and if they develop symptoms, immediately self-isolate and complete the COVID-19 self-assessment.

The number of tests that can be done is based on the need to prioritize testing of people who have symptoms and close contacts of known cases. Not everyone who comes forward for an asymptomatic test will necessarily get one.

Everyone is reminded to keep their social circles small and follow public health measures including wearing masks, physical distancing, practicing good hand hygiene, and staying home and completing the COVID-19 self-assessment if they have symptoms.

Marla Robinson-Pyne
Health Director Acadia First Nation
Yarmouth Health Centre
15234 Hwy 3
Yarmouth NS, B5A 4A8