HALIFAX -- The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in Nova Scotia, where 26 new cases were reported Wednesday.

This is the biggest spike of cases reported in the province in one day.

The provincial government says more than 1,000 tests were completed at the QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab on Tuesday.

To date, Nova Scotia has 6,591 negative test results and 173 confirmed cases.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, said Wednesday that while it’s good so many tests are coming back negative, he is concerned the province is seeing double-digit cases most days, and signs of community spread.

“This does make me nervous. I didn’t sleep well last night thinking about this,” said Strang during Wednesday’s news conference.

“The next few weeks are critical.”

Most COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia are connected to travel or a known case, but there is one confirmed case of community transmission, and some cases are still under investigation.

Five people are currently in hospital while 11 people have recovered from the virus. Their cases are considered resolved.

The 173 individuals range in age from under 10 to over 80.

The government says cases have been identified across the province, and a map with more information about where the cases are located will be posted online soon, potentially Thursday.

Another COVID-19 case at long-term care home

Among the new cases announced Wednesday is a staff member at The Magnolia Continuing Care Community in Enfield, N.S.

A total of three staff members and two residents at the facility have now tested positive for the virus.

The province says the residents are in isolation at the facility and staff members are isolating at home.

Strang said all residents at The Magnolia have been tested for COVID-19. They are being monitored for symptoms and their temperature is being checked twice a day.

Staff members who have been identified as close contacts of confirmed cases have also been tested. Testing of other staff members is underway.

Two other long-term care facilities in the province have been impacted by COVID-19.

A staff member at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, N.S. previously tested positive for the virus, along with an employee at Lewis Hall, a private retirement community in Dartmouth, N.S.

The province says they are both isolating at home and infection prevention and control measures are in place at the facilities.

Public health is working to identify and test people who may have come in contact with the province’s confirmed cases of COVID-19. All confirmed cases, and those who have been in contact with them, are being directed 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.