HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia announced 20 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 147.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday that 96 per cent of the confirmed cases are travel-related or are connected to a known case of the novel coronavirus.

One case cannot be linked to travel or another case, confirming community spread of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.

“We have concluded that this is the result of transmission within the community,” said Strang during Tuesday’s news conference.

“We have a handful of other cases that are still under investigation to determine where they may have been exposed.”

COVID-19 in long-term care facilities

A total of four staff members and two residents at three separate long-term care facilities have tested positive for the virus.  

A spokesperson with Rosecrest Communities, which runs The Magnolia continuing care home in Enfield, N.S., confirmed to CTV News that two residents and two staff members at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19.

Strang said Tuesday that one resident is mildly ill, while the second is asymptomatic.

He also said all residents at The Magnolia have been tested for COVID-19 and testing of staff is underway.

A staff member at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, N.S., has also been infected with the virus, along with an employee at Lewis Hall, a private retirement community in Dartmouth, N.S.

Strang said infection prevention and control measures are in place for residents and staff at the facilities. He also said residents are being closely monitored and there is no other reported illness at this time.

“It’s concerning, but I think we’ve done everything we could do to limit the possibility of introduction and we have robust plans of responding, like we’ve seen in the last few days, if we get COVID-19 in long-term care facilities,” said Strang.

As for the province’s 147 cases, the infected individuals range in age from under 10 to over 80.

Ten people have recovered from the virus and their cases are considered resolved.

Province to release map of COVID-19 cases

The provincial government hasn’t been releasing details about where cases are located, only saying there are cases of COVID-19 identified across the province.

However, Strang said Tuesday that the province will start providing some information about where cases are located soon.

“There will be a map, the four health zones of Nova Scotia, and numbers of cases that are in each health zone,” he said. “We didn’t want to do that until we had at least five cases in each of those zones.”

Strang said the map will be available online, but there are still some technical difficulties to work out.

Public health is working to identify people who may have come in close contact with the confirmed cases. Those people are being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who travelled outside Nova Scotia must also self-isolate for 14 days.

'Stay home as much as possible'

Strang also reiterated the importance of adhering to the public health orders and directives, such as staying home as much as possible, practising physical-distancing, and limiting essential gatherings to no more than five people.

“I used the word essential gatherings and I mean essential gatherings. This is not a time to be getting together just because you want to. You get together with five or less people if it’s necessary to do so,” said Strang.

“The simple message is stay at home as much as possible … this is how we’re going to stop the spread of this virus. This is how we’re going to get out of this as quickly as we can.”

Any Nova Scotian who develops symptoms such as fever, a new cough or acute respiratory illness, should limit their contact with others and use the online assessment tool before calling 811.

Anyone referred to an assessment site by 811 will be tested.

Strang said Tuesday that everyone who is tested for COVID-19 will receive a call with their result, whether it is positive or negative. It may take 48 to 72 hours to get the result.

To date, there have been 5,763 negative test results.