'The virus will find you': Premier angry with Nova Scotians who continue to break the rules
HALIFAX -- “Stay the blazes home.”
That’s the message Premier Stephen McNeil has for Nova Scotians who are not following the rules and restrictions in place as the province fights the spread of COVID-19.
McNeil had strong words for those citizens Friday, calling them “reckless and selfish” during a news conference in Halifax.
“I’m not trying to scare you, but part of me wishes you were scared. This is serious and another weekend is upon us. I am so tired of hearing of grocery stores, Walmart, Tim Hortons parking lots filled with cars, as if we are not in the midst of a deadly pandemic. We are,” said a noticeably frustrated McNeil.
“To the reckless and selfish, I’m talking to you.”
Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency last month in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Residents are being urged to stay home as much as possible and to stick to their communities when walking or biking for exercise.
Many businesses are closed, along with all provincial parks and beaches. Essential social gatherings must be limited to five people and residents must practise physical-distancing.
McNeil noted many Nova Scotians are abiding by those rules, but he said too many are not, and he’s losing his patience.
“The virus will find you. Then it finds your loved ones. And then it finds your neighbourhoods. And then we have community spread,” said an angry McNeil.
“And then everyone is putting pressure on the public health to solve it, our healthcare system to deal with it, and government to pay for it, when all we have to do is stay the blazes home.”
Nova Scotia’s top doctor echoed the premier’s message, also expressing frustration with those who continue to break the rules.
“Stop looking for loopholes, please. Use your common sense,” urged Dr. Robert Strang, the provincial chief medical officer of health.
“It may be challenging, but it's actually not that, in my mind it’s not that difficult to understand stay home as much as possible, stay away from each other. Stop looking for loopholes or reasons to try to get around this, that puts us all at risk.”
Number of cases surpasses 200
The warnings came as the province announced 14 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in Nova Scotia to 207.
The provincial government says almost 900 tests were conducted Thursday at the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab in Halifax.
Strang says the lab will be testing around the clock this weekend.
Ninety-two per cent of the cases are connected to travel or a known case. One case is confirmed to be the result of community spread and some cases are still under investigation.
“We are now starting to see signs of community spread in Nova Scotia,” said Strang. “I do not believe it’s widespread and we will be, we are continuing to expand our testing to be looking for spread within Nova Scotia, not just based on travel."
The cases range in age from under 10 to over 80.
Five people are currently in hospital.
Twenty-one people have recovered from the virus. Therefore, their cases are considered resolved.
Cases have been identified in all parts of the province, and a map with more information is now available online.
The cases are broken down by the Nova Scotia Health Authority zones. The map indicates where the tests were taken, not necessarily where the individuals live.
- Western Zone: 33 cases
- Central Zone: 130 cases
- Northern Zone: 22 cases
- Eastern Zone: 23 cases
Strang confirmed there are no new cases of COVID-19 at The Magnolia Continuing Care Community in Enfield, N.S.
A total of three staff members and two residents have tested positive for the virus at the long-term care facility.
Strang said health officials are still investigating the source of the cases in the facility, but they do know there was an educational event for staff, as well as a family gathering on March 11, which was attended by people who live outside of the province.
Public Health is working to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with all of the confirmed cases.
Anyone who has COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
Anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia must also self-isolate for 14 days.
Nova Scotians who develop symptoms such as fever, a new cough, or acute respiratory illness should limit their contact with others and use the online assessment tool to determine if they should call 811.
The province says anyone referred to a COVID-19 assessment site by 811 will be tested.
To date, Nova Scotia has 8,234 negative test results and 207 confirmed cases.