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Proceed with caution: contact tracing has slowed 

If you’re waiting for clear guidelines or a call from public health, it may take longer than normal.

As COVID-19 cases increase in the province, so grows the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s list of “Potential COVID Exposures”—gyms, restaurants, stores and other places visited by someone who later tested positive for the disease. And a longer list of exposure sites means a longer list of people who were at those places and need to be told to get tested. In other words, there’s a lot more contact tracing to do.

Until now, Nova Scotia has managed to effectively keep on top of contact tracing. There was a case, the risks were evaluated, public health staff quickly tracked down all the people the patient had been near, then either sent them to get a test or told them to self-isolate and watch for symptoms.

But with community spread in the Central zone, the NSHA has had to shift its priorities. A release sent Saturday, April 24 says public health is currently taking 24 hours to get in touch with someone who has tested positive, flagging that there may then be delays in contacting the high-risk contacts of those cases. Instead of a phone call right away, a high-risk contact could get a text or email explaining what to do; a public health nurse will follow up, though it may take longer than 72 hours. A lower-risk connection might not get contacted at all.

When in doubt, the NSHA says you shouldn't wait for the NSHA. "If you think you may be a contact of someone with COVID-19, and public health has not contacted you, please get tested and self-isolate until you receive a negative result."

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