HALIFAX -- After reporting three new cases of COVID-19 this week, there was some good news to end the week.

"I'm happy to report there are no new cases of COVID today,” said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil.

The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 372 tests on Thursday.

To date, the province has 54,317 negative test results, 1,064 positive cases, 63 deaths and three active cases.Nine-hundred and ninety-eight cases are now resolved.

There are no licensed long-term care homes in Nova Scotia with active cases of COVID-19.

Two people are currently in hospital – both patients' COVID-19 infections are considered resolved, but they are being treated in hospital.

Three active cases

Friday's no new cases breaks a three day streak of a single case being identified in the province.

A provincial press release issued on Thursday said the latest new case was identified on Wednesday and is a temporary foreign worker, who likely received the infection outside of Canada. The individual has been self-isolating since arriving in the province, as required.

"These new cases highlight the importance of our public health directives, particularly the 14-day self-isolation period upon arrival in Nova Scotia," said Premier Stephen McNeil. "These directives are in place to protect us and I ask all Nova Scotians to continue to take care and respect the rules."

On Tuesday, the province announced its first new case since June 9, involving a person who had travelled internationally. Another positive test was reported on Wednesday. The province says all three active cases are international travel related.

“I’m extremely worried that people are becoming complacent,” said Dr. Robert Strang, N.S. chief medical officer of health, during Friday's news update. “I’m seeing a lot of situations where people are not maintaining the two-metre physical distance, lots of circumstances where our recommendations around masks are not being followed. These are critical pieces, keeping the physical distance as much as possible and where that is not possible, wearing a mask. It is those measures along with other preventative measures, those are the tools we have to minimize the impact of COVID-19.”

No active cases in long-term care facilities

There are no active cases of COVID-19 at any licensed long-term care facility in the province.

During the height of this first wave of the pandemic, Northwood became the epicentre of the virus and 53 residents died. This week, government launched a review to determine what factors led to the spread.

"We're happy to see the review taking place because any recommendation coming out of this, that can help prevent a death in any long term care facility, we welcome that,” said Unifor Atlantic Regional Director Linda MacNeil.

Unifor represents nearly 500 workers at Northwood. Linda MacNeil says input from workers will be important for the review.

"Whatever the recommendations is, or going to be, the government has to act swiftly, not consult and review and strategize,” she said.

Clarification on U.S. travel

During Friday’s news update, Premier Stephen McNeil gave a clarification on Canadian citizens travelling across the U.S. border into Nova Scotia.

“Canada-U.S. border is closed to all non-essential travel, but if you are a Canadian citizen living in the U.S. and you want to come home, you have the right to enter your home country and will not be turned away,” said McNeil.

He further clarified that any Nova Scotian entering the province from the U.S. will have to show their Canadian passport, as well as provide an address and phone number of where they will be staying and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and follow all public health protocols.

“I’m hearing lots of stories circulating on social media about Americans and others who are coming into our province and not self-isolating. If this is true it is not acceptable,” said McNeil. “If you commit to self-isolating for 14 days, we expect you to keep your word, so we will be ramping up our calls and check-ins to make sure you are where you said you would be and that you are indeed self-isolating. We want to be open and welcoming but we are not going to let our guard down.”

Atlantic Canada ‘bubble’

Starting Friday, residents of Atlantic Canada can visit the four provinces without having to self-isolate.

Atlantic Canadians must still abide by the public health directives in place in each province, such as practising physical distancing and good hand hygiene.

Residents shouldn’t travel if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Each province will choose their own processes to track and monitor travellers. In Nova Scotia, proof of Atlantic residency will be required to enter the province.

Visitors from outside Atlantic Canada must still adhere to the entry requirements in place in each of the four provinces.

New gathering limits

The province also has new gathering limits effective Friday.

As of Friday, if a recognized business or organization is planning an event outdoors, 250 people can attend with physical-distancing rules in place.

For an indoor event, the limit is 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 200, with physical distancing.

The expanded gathering limits apply to social events, faith gatherings, weddings, funerals and other cultural events and arts and culture events like theatre performances, dance recitals, festivals and concerts.

Gatherings not run by a recognized business or organization, are still subject to the 50-person maximum limit with physical distancing unless you’re in your close social group of 10.

People can continue to gather in close social groups of up to 10 without physical distancing. People in a group are not required to be exclusive, but they are strongly encouraged to maintain a consistent group.

Campgrounds reopen

Reservations for sites at Nova Scotia's 20 provincial parks are now open to anyone from across Atlantic Canada.

And as of Monday, the province will open an additional 300 campsites for bookings starting on July 10th.

Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin says the province is increasing capacity at its campgrounds while maintaining a safe distance between sites to allow for physical distancing.

However, only registered campers can enter provincial campgrounds -- and all group camping sites, yurts and cabins will remain closed this season.

Cases By Zone

Of the three active cases, one was identified in the western zone, while the other two were identified in the central zone.

As of Friday, the cases are identified in the following zones.

  • Western zone: 53 cases
  • Central zone: 900 cases
  • Northern zone: 57 cases
  • Eastern zone: 54 cases

The government says cumulative cases by the Nova Scotia Health Authority's four zones may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province's electronic information system.

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 experiences one of the following symptoms is encouraged to take an online test to determine if they should call 811 for further assessment:

  • fever (i.e. chills, sweats)
  • cough or worsening of a previous cough
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • shortness of breath
  • muscle aches
  • sneezing
  • nasal congestion/runny nose
  • hoarse voice
  • diarrhea
  • unusual fatigue
  • loss of sense of smell or taste