HALIFAX -- The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia is nearing 1,000.

The province announced seven new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 998.

“This virus is still in our province and we need to continue to be proactive and follow the protocols,” said Premier Stephen McNeil during a news conference in Halifax Wednesday afternoon.

“The actions that we take not only protect ourselves but will protect all Nova Scotians.”

The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 764 tests on Tuesday.

To date, Nova Scotia has 31,541 negative test results and 41 deaths related to COVID-19.

There are no additional deaths to report at this time.

The province says 11 long-term care homes and seniors' facilities have been affected by COVID-19, but only three facilities have active cases right now.

Most of the active cases are at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, which has 160 active cases among residents and 51 active cases among staff members.

“We do know that several Northwood staff have tested positive in the last few days and we are doing an intense review of each of those cases to understand potential exposures for those individuals, what would be the likely source of them becoming infected,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health.

“As part of that review is a deep dive into our current infection control and cleaning protocols to make sure that everything necessary continues to be done.”

The province says two other facilities each have one staff member with an active case of COVID-19. 

Northwood has seen the most significant outbreak of COVID-19 in the province. Of the 41 deaths, 35 have been at Northwood, which is the largest such facility east of Montreal.

On Wednesday, Northwood was reporting a total of 316 confirmed cases involving 226 residents and 90 staff members.

Seventy-four Northwood residents and 40 employees have now recovered from the virus.

What we know about the COVID-19 cases

The confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.

Sixty-one per cent of cases are female and 39 per cent are male.

Five people are currently in hospital. Two of those patients are in intensive care units.

The province says 661 people have now recovered from COVID-19 and their cases are considered resolved.

“So, about two-thirds of our cases, which is really good news,” said Strang.

There are cases across the province but most have been confirmed in the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s central zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality. More information is available in an online map.

Of the seven new cases, five have been confirmed in the central zone, while two have been confirmed in the northern zone.

The western and eastern zones are seeing no new cases at this time.

  • Western zone: 54 cases
  • Central zone: 851 cases
  • Northern zone: 43 cases
  • Eastern zone: 50 cases

Nova Scotia COVID map May 6

Strang said Wednesday that, while the vast majority of cases are in the Halifax area, residents across the province should continue to follow the protocols in place.

“All Nova Scotians, no matter where you live, there is still the … significant potential that COVID-19 could appear in any one of our communities,” said Strang.

“If we let our guard down in any one part of the province, that potentially gives the opportunity for the virus to come back and to spread within your communities.”

Public health is working to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with the confirmed cases.

Symptoms and self-isolation

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who travels outside Nova Scotia must also self-isolate for two weeks.

Nova Scotians who experience two or more of the following symptoms should take an online questionnaire to determine if they should call 811 for further assessment:

  • Fever
  • New or worsening cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headache

The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to May 17.

The province has eased some public health measures, but the rules related to physical distancing and social gatherings -- keeping six feet apart and not gathering in groups more than five -- remain in place.

“We actually want people to be out and get outside, but not together, only within your household group,” said Strang. “It’s not time yet to be getting together with people outside of your household group.”