Nova Scotia confirms 5 new cases, community spread of COVID-19
HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia government has confirmed there is community spread of COVID-19 in the province.
The province announced five new cases of the novel coronavirus Monday, bringing the total number of cases in Nova Scotia to 127.
Most of Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 cases are travel-related or connected to other cases.
However, Nova Scotia’s medical officer of health says one case cannot be linked to travel or a previously-confirmed case.
“This is the individual that we thought … that was a potential exposure at a St. Patrick’s Day event,” said Dr. Robert Strang, referring to an event held at the community centre in Lake Echo, N.S., on March 14.
Strang said health officials have followed up with everyone who attended the event, and those people have all been tested. They are all past the 14-day period and no one else has fallen ill. Strang also said no one who attended the event had travelled.
“So, our only conclusion can be that the individual who attended that event, who has now been known as a case of COVID-19, must have been exposed somewhere else,” said Strang.
“We can find no evidence of any links to a known case or to travel, so we have a conclusion of the first case in Nova Scotia where it has to be exposure somewhere in Nova Scotia.”
Now that there is confirmation of community spread in Nova Scotia, Strang said it’s more important than ever to practise self-isolation, physical-distancing and abide by the public health orders and directives set out by the province.
“The way we will minimize further transmission is all of us adhering to those public health orders and directives,” he said.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil echoed that sentiment, calling the confirmation of community spread “unsettling.”
“While this wasn’t unexpected, it is unsettling, and a giant wake-up call for us all,” said McNeil.
“As the virus moves closer, we need to move further apart.”
The 127 infected individuals range in age from under 10 to their mid-70s.
Four people are currently in hospital as a result of COVID-19. There is no word on their condition, but the daughter of one patient told CTV News last week that her father is in the intensive care unit at the hospital in Truro, N.S.
Ten people have recovered from the virus and their cases are considered resolved.
The Nova Scotia government won’t release details about where the cases are located, but it does say there are cases in communities across the province.
COVID-19 confirmed at long-term care homes
Four staff members and two residents at three long-term care homes in the province have now tested positive for COVID-19.
Two residents and two staff members at the Magnolia residential care home in Enfield, N.S. have tested positive for the virus, along with an employee at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, N.S., and an employee at Lewis Hall, a private retirement community in Halifax.
The province said residents, families and staff members at all three facilities have been notified.
Some residents and staff members are in self-isolation as a precaution.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority is also warning the public about a possible exposure at Rob Bitar’s Ristorante in Elmsdale, N.S., on March 23 and March 24.
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.
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.
To date, there have been 5,054 negative test results.