'It is a worry': Nova Scotia confirms 17 new cases of COVID-19
HALIFAX -- There are 17 new cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 68.
Health officials say the latest cases are all travel-related or connected to previously-confirmed cases.
Several of the individuals are connected to groups or families who have returned to Nova Scotia after travelling outside of Canada.
Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, maintains there is still no community spread of the novel coronavirus in Nova Scotia at this time, but he expects that to change.
He also says he fully expected to see a spike in COVID-19 cases after the March break.
“We anticipated the numbers,” said Strang during a news conference Wednesday afternoon. “We may well see some community spread, but everything we’re doing is built around controlling that spread as much as possible."
“Our numbers are growing and it is a worry,” said Premier Stephen McNeil.
"Part of it is people are returning from March Break and the snowbirds are coming home, but we are among the lucky provinces where community spread has not happened. But let's not kid ourselves, it could just about anytime. We have the ability, each of us to control it."
The affected individuals range in age from under 10 to their mid-70s.
Health officials will not release details about where the individuals are located, citing privacy concerns, but they do say there are cases across the province.
Two people have been hospitalized as a result of the virus. One person has since been released from hospital and one remains in hospital. That patient’s condition is unknown.
“I haven’t been able to check on their current status,” said Strang. “We’re also very careful about disclosing clinical information.”
The province says two people have now recovered from the virus and their cases are considered resolved.
Public Health has been in contact with everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 and is working to identify others who may have come in close contact with them.
Those people are being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
The province is reminding residents that anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia must also self-isolate for 14 days.
Strang also reiterated the importance of physical-distancing and following Public Health measures, especially now that so many snowbirds and March-break travellers have returned to the province.
“We are at a place that if we all work together and apply our personal protective measures, our social-distancing measures, all the closures put in place, if we stick with it the next two weeks, we have the opportunity to get ahead of this,” said Strang.
McNeil noted that this is a difficult time and expressed concern for those who feel isolated. He is encouraging Nova Scotians to reach out to loved ones, and to ask for help if help is needed.
“I know it’s not easy. It’s lonely and I worry about the isolation and what it does to a person,” said McNeil.
“Reach out if you need help. Pick up the phone, call a friend, and check in with one another.”
Anyone who has travelled outside of the province, or has been in close contact with someone who travelled, and is experiencing symptoms such as a new cough or fever, is asked to complete an online questionnaire before calling 811.
As of Wednesday, Nova Scotia had conducted 2,840 tests with 2,772 negative results, and 68 positive results.