Nova Scotia

Halifax Regional Police officer tests positive for COVID-19 as N.S. cases rise to 428

The province announced 21 new COVID-19 positive results in its daily update on Saturday. Premier McNeil is asking residents to stay home this holiday weekend. 'There will be other times to see family and friends,' he said.

There are 8 people in hospital because of the virus, 4 in intensive care

This is the COVID-19 warning commuters in the Halifax area are seeing over the Easter Weekend. On Saturday, Nova Scotia's cases of COVID-19 rose to 428, with 21 new positive test results. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Nova Scotia recorded 21 new COVID-19 positive results on Saturday, including a Halifax Regional Police officer — bringing the province's total to 428.

So far, 95 people have recovered from COVID-19 and two have died.

The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 885 Nova Scotia tests on Friday and is operating 24-hours per day. The province has reported 13,682 negative results.

There are eight people in hospital because of the virus. Four are in intensive care.

On Saturday, Halifax police announced one of its officers had tested positive. The force is working with Public Health to identify others who may need testing.

The employee who tested positive has not been at work since April 5. Since that time, police said all workplaces and vehicles the employee may have been in contact with have been sanitized.

Possible COVID-19 exposures in Halifax region

The Nova Scotia Health Authority said there were potential new COVID-19 exposures in the Halifax region.

One of the locations is the Atlantic Superstore at 9 Braemar Drive in Dartmouth between April 2-6 and April 8. An employee at that location recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Another location is Scotia Tire at 975 Cole Harbour Road in Dartmouth on April 6.

The health authority also listed a few Halifax Transit routes:

  • Route 60 at 6:10 a.m.-7:10 a.m. leaving Eastern Passage on April 2-6.
  • Route 10 at 6:40 a.m.-7:40 a.m. Dalhousie on April 2-6.
  • Route 62 at 4:50 p.m. - 5:50 p.m. Wildwood on April 2-6.
  • Route 60 at 5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. heading toward Eastern Passage on April 2-6.
  • Route 60 at 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. leaving Eastern Passage on April 8.

Public Health is contacting anyone who is known to be a close contact of the people confirmed to have COVID-19, but said it could be unaware of some contacts.

Anyone exposed to the virus on the named dates at these locations may develop symptoms up to and including April 22.

In a news release, Premier Stephen McNeil said Easter and Passover celebrations for this weekend are "going to look a little bit different."

He urged people not to get together or have family dinners and encouraged residents to keep in touch by phone or video chat.

"There will be other long weekends," he said. "There will be other times to see family and friends. But if we do not follow public health protocols, we reduce the chances of having those gatherings sooner."

This map shows the breakdown of known COVID-19 cases by health zone as of Saturday, April 11, 2020. (Province of Nova Scotia)

The province recently expanded the list of symptoms being screened for COVID-19. They are:

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

Anyone with two or more of those symptoms should visit 811's website for a self-assessment questionnaire to determine if 811 should be called for further assessment.

The Easter Bunny has been declared an essential service in Nova Scotia. (Nigel Dowsett/Shutterstock)

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer, reminds residents the Easter Bunny is an essential service.

"[The Easter Bunny] is an expert in physical distancing and has been [practising] good paw-washing since he was just a young bunny," Strang said in a news release.

"If we continue to work together, we can follow the public health measures, stay safe and still have fun."

The Saturday before Easter is traditionally a busy day for retailers.

In Bayers Lake, there was a lineup outside the Best Buy store, but it appeared most people were keeping the required two metres of separation.

The line to get into the Best Buy store in Bayers Lake on Saturday, April 11, 2020. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

2nd Halifax Transit driver tests positive

Late Friday evening, Halifax Transit announced a second bus driver tested positive for COVID-19.

In a news release, the municipality said the driver's last shift was on March 31. Buses and work spaces entered by the driver have been cleaned, the release said.

After a bus driver tested positive for the virus earlier this week, the union leader for Halifax Transit workers called for more restrictions on ridership.

Over the next week, Halifax Transit said it will begin alternating seating at some terminals.