Dalhousie University
Community Report
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Spotlight on Community Connections

Responsive and Agile

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This past fall, Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious diseases specialist with the Faculty of Medicine, organized a pop-up testing site at Dalhousie with colleague Dr. Todd Hatchette that attracted long lines and generated lots of media attention.

The clinic on the downtown Sexton Campus drew hundreds of young people — many of them students — in for free, rapid virus testing amid a growing second wave of cases in Halifax that health officials said was being driven predominantly by people aged 18-35.

Intended for people who are asymptomatic, results from the rapid tests are processed far more quickly than standard COVID tests — usually within 15-20 minutes as opposed to the one to three days.

“Basically, the reason we are doing that is to get a sense of how many people are out there who don't know that they're actually infected and who need to know so that they can take precautions for themselves and their family and friends,” said Dr. Barrett.

Thanks to university support, the on-campus clinic was organized rapidly — within a week the university had helped to identify and access a safe place to conduct the tests. And word got around quickly too: lineups from the testing site were so long they snaked through a large portion of Sexton Campus, despite the chilly temperatures.

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