'Stay the blazes home,' premier warns as COVID-19 cases rise in Nova Scotia
'I'm so tired of hearing of grocery stores, Walmart, Tim Hortons parking lots filled with cars'
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil told residents "to stay the blazes home" as the number of COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia rose to 207 on Friday.
"I'm not trying to scare you, but part of me wishes you were scared," McNeil said.
"This is serious and another weekend is upon us, I'm so tired of hearing of grocery stores, Walmart, Tim Hortons parking lots filled with cars as if we're not in the midst of a deadly pandemic — we are."
Nova Scotia confirmed 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. The new cases were identified on Thursday and nearly 900 tests were completed at the QEII Health Sciences Centre, the province said in a news release.
Google recently released graphs of people's movements based on data from mobile phones and the premier said "Nova Scotia is not doing well when it comes to staying away from our parks and beaches."
"The virus will find you, then it finds your loved ones and then it finds your neighbourhoods," he said.
Most of the new cases are connected to travel or a known case, but Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, said during a press conference on Friday that he's starting to see signs of community spread.
Strang said testing will be expanded to look for community spread and "there will be more to come on that in the future."
There is one confirmed case of community spread. More community transmission cases are expected in the future.
"If you have a teenager who's going out to to meet their boyfriend or if you want to get together even to chat with your neighbours, each of those puts your family unit at risk," Strang said.
Strang said if residents stay at home "as much as possible" and take other precautions like washing their hands frequently, "we can minimize the impact and slow down the spread."
The people who have tested positive so far range in age from under 10 to more than 80.
Five people are being treated in hospital, but 21 people are considered to be recovered.
Cases of COVID-19 have been found across the province.
The latest information on cases can be found on the province's COVID-19 data website.
NSLC location closed as precaution
The NSLC on Portland Street in Dartmouth closed abruptly on Friday afternoon when one of its staff members found out he was exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Spokesperson Beverley Ware said the exposure did not happen at work.
She said the store closed almost immediately after the employee found out and shared the information.
After the store closed, it was cleaned and disinfected.
A decision on whether that location will reopen on Saturday will be made that morning.
Keep loved ones at long-term care homes
Strang advised against removing loved ones from long-term care facilities.
If the virus entered the household, Strang said he's concerned families wouldn't have the "the ability to provide the necessary level of care."
"They would be putting their relative at more risk unless they have absolute capacity to apply the same level of restrictions and the same level of cleaning and all those pieces that a long-term care facility would have," Strang said.
If a family did take a family member out of a long-term care facility, McNeil said the province would work with those families.
No new cases at Magnolia
There are no new cases of COVID-19 at the Magnolia Continuing Care Home in Enfield, N.S.
Strang said there are still only three staff and two residents who have tested positive.
He said the investigation into how the virus spread there is still under investigation. He said there was an education event for staff and also a family gathering that was held at the facility on March 11.
"It's a complex investigation with lots of interactions between staff and between staff and residents and the community," Strang said.
"But the good news is there's nobody new ill in that long-term care facility."
Fines over COVID-19
Nova Scotia RCMP announced they had charged four people and one business for violating the Nova Scotia Health Protection Act and Emergency Management Act in relation to COVID-19.
Three people were charged with failing to comply with a direction, order or requirement made under the Emergency Management Act on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, RCMP charged a business and one person for failing to adhere to orders contained in the chief medical officer's public health order.
RCMP say the first three people were fined $697.50, the business was fined $7,500 and the fourth person was fined $1,000.