- As health restrictions loosen, health authorities across Canada are on high alert for another COVID-19 outbreak.
- Anyone who is symptomatic and has previously tested positive on a rapid test can get a PCR test in Nova Scotia.
With health authorities throughout Canada on high alert for another COVID-19 outbreak as health restrictions continue to relax, the Atlantic provinces and the Northwest Territories are reporting the most COVID-19 patients per capita than anywhere else in Canada or the United States.
According to experts, the high case counts in these regions are likely due to fewer restrictions on who is eligible for a COVID-19 test in some of these provinces.
According to CTVNews.ca’s tracker, which compares Canadian provinces and territories to states in the United States, Prince Edward Island has reported an average of 350.6 daily cases in the last seven days. This equates to 2,216.6 cases per million people, more than any other jurisdiction on both sides of the border.
With 88.3 cases per day, the Northwest Territories is second on the list. That’s a case rate of 1,996.1 per million. Newfoundland as well as Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick are the next three provinces to report, with 757.6, 612.1, and 567.0 cases per million, respectively.
In an email to CTVNews.ca on Friday, Colin Furness, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, said that looser testing criteria in a few of these provinces “would describe much of the difference, possibly all of it.”
Despite the territory’s strict PCR testing eligibility criteria, N.W.T. still has the 2nd greatest COVID-19 case count per capita. Another factor that may explain the high cases reported in these regions, according to Furness, is “lower population immunity in regions that have been produced with COVID for the first several waves.”
Many provinces began restricting access to laboratory tests in late 2021 when COVID-19 cases spiked throughout Canada due to the increase of the Omicron variant as testing capacity became strained.
Only health-care workers, individuals in long-term care homes, immunocompromised people, pregnant people, and many others deemed to be at a greater risk of COVID-19 are eligible to be tested at a screening clinic in provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, B.C., as well as others. Anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is advised to stay at home and use rapid at-home tests.
COVID-19 testing clinics, on the other hand, are available in Prince Edward Island for anyone who grows symptoms or has already tested positive with a rapid at-home test. The province’s top doctor has also attributed the province’s higher case counts to increased testing access.
“Given that we have tested more people, we have had much better access to COVID-19 testing in P.E.I. than in other provinces and territories. Comparing our case rates to those of other jurisdictions isn’t entirely accurate. “During a COVID-19 media briefing last month, P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said.
A PCR test is available in Nova Scotia for anyone who is symptomatic and has previously tested positive on a rapid test. Citizens who test positive with a rapid test can report they’re positive results to their provinces online in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, which have more restrictions on who is eligible for a PCR test.
Source: CTV News