HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia is reporting the province's fourth death related to COVID-19, as well as 27 new cases.

The province says that a woman in her 80s in Cape Breton died on Friday as a result of complications related to COVID-19.

"It's with great sadness that I have to tell you that another Nova Scotia family is now grieving the loss of a loved one as result of COVID-19," said Premier Stephen McNeil. "As I offer them my heartfelt condolences, I want to emphasize to all Nova Scotians that we must all continue to work together to fight this terrible disease."

Four Nova Scotians have now died from complications due to the virus, including a woman in her 70s, a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 90s, and a man in his 80s. All four had underlying health issues. 

State of Emergency extended

The province has also extended the state of emergency for another two weeks, until Sunday, May 3.

According to a release issued Friday afternoon, N.S. cabinet met Thursday, April 16 by teleconference and agreed to ask the lieutenant governor to extend the state of emergency that was first declared on March 22.

Long-term care homes affected

As of April 17, there were eight licensed long-term care homes in Nova Scotia with cases of COVID-19, involving 55 residents and 43 staff.

"This situation is the one that keeps me awake," said McNeil during Friday's news conference. "We all hear this virus getting into long-term care facilities, and many of our loved ones who are in these facilities have underlying health issues."

At Halifax's Northwood Campus, 42 residents have tested positive.

Kirsten Saliste Dogan says her mother, who lives in Northwood, has not been tested, despite others on the floor testing positive.

"The three cases on her floor alone are being quarantined in their rooms on that floor, which is also concerning because that means that staff are providing care for presumably unaffected residents, also have to provide care to the residents that have tested positive," says Saliste Dogan.

The situation terrifies Saliste Dogan.

"I am concerned for her life if she contracts this virus. I really want to hope for the best, but I am preparing for the worst. I'm not sure she would survive contracting this virus.

She also is concerned that Northwood doesn't have enough staff, and wants the province to stelp in to help.

"For the love of God, step in and do something, provide this facility with the support they need so that they can take care of those precious residents," says Saliste Dogan. "They are our most vulnerable, they are our precious family members, they need our support and they need our voice, now more than ever."

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, spoke to the situation at long-term care facilities during Friday's news conference.

"There absolutely will be a plan to support them moving forward, very quickly, with the necessary staffing or to address the necessary staffing challenges, and needs they have in front of them," said Dr. Strang.

"We will aggressively go after this virus inside of this facility, just as we have in this province," added McNeil.

Latest numbers

Nova Scotia is reporting 27 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, bringing the province's total to 606.

The province says 177 people have recovered from the virus and their cases are considered resolved.

The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 966 tests on Thursday and is operating 24-hours.

To date, Nova Scotia has 19,506 negative test results and 606 positive results.

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

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

Where are the cases located?

Health officials say there are cases across the province. More information about the breakdown of cases is available in an online map.

The map breaks the cases down according to the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s four zones and indicates where testing was conducted, not necessarily where the individuals live.

The central zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality, has seen the largest number of COVID-19 cases.

Twenty-five of Nova Scotia’s 27 new cases on Friday were confirmed in the central zone.

The northern zone saw one new case, as did the eastern zone. The western zone saw no new cases.

  • Western zone: 48 cases
  • Central zone: 478 cases
  • Northern zone: 36 cases
  • Eastern zone: 44 cases

COVID-19 Map April 17

Symptoms and self-isolation

The province has also recently expanded the list of symptoms for which it is screening.

Anyone who experiences two or more of the following symptoms is encouraged to take an online questionnaire to determine if they should call 811 for further assessment.

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

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who travelled outside of the province is also required to self-isolate for two weeks.