Nova Scotia

COVID-19 cases rise to 122 in Nova Scotia, including an employee at residential care home

Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health, said there are 122 cases of COVID-19 in the province. He said he can't confirm community spread.

Worker at Magnolia residential care home in Enfield tests positive for virus

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, announced 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. (Nova Scotia Communications)

The Nova Scotia government has announced 12 new cases of COVID-19, including an individual who was working at a residential care home. 

Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health, said at a news briefing Sunday that a worker at the Magnolia residential care home in Enfield tested positive for the virus.

"We now have a directive that in all long-term facilities, residents need to have their temperatures checked twice a day," Strang said.

Strang said staff who had close contact with the infected worker are self-isolating for 14 days and residents who had close contact are being separated from others.

Cases at nursing home, retirement home

On Saturday, the province said an employee at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish had tested positive for COVID-19.

"All family members and residents who had direct contact with the staff member have been notified directly by the Nursing Home and residents potentially affected have been isolated as well," said a press release from the nursing home.

An employee at Lewis Hall, a private retirement-living community in Dartmouth, also tested positive.

An employee at Lewis Hall, a private retirement-living community in Dartmouth, tested positive for COVID-19. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

The employee last worked at the hall on March 22, according to a press release from Shannex, the company that owns the facility. The individual has not returned to the building since.

"Their positive diagnosis is linked to close contact with another case in the Halifax area," the release stated.

The residents and staff at the first two facilities were tested and their results came back negative.

Strang said residents and staff at all three facilities are not showing symptoms but will be tested again if they do.

No community spread ... yet

Strang couldn't confirm community spread as some cases are still under investigation.

"At this time, no cases show clear evidence of community spread but we all need to be prepared that this will happen and may be happening right now and we'll pick it up with our expanded testing," he said.

He said 800 people have been tested in the last 24 hours at the QEII Health Science Centre's microbiology lab in Halifax.

Strang confirmed the new cases are not linked to the large group events where cases of COVID-19 were identified, including a Halifax basketball tournament or a St. Patrick's Day event.

Three people are in hospital with COVID-19 and seven people have recovered from the virus.

Strang said the 12 new cases are either travel-related or are connected to earlier cases. Infected individuals range in age from under 10 to mid-70s and cases have been identified in all parts of the province.

So far, there have been 4,731 negative test results.

Enforcement of physical distancing

Strang said most Nova Scotians are physical distancing and only going out when necessary, but some people aren't listening.

"We still have reports of people getting together and group activities," he said. "We have to take this seriously. We are all at risk." 

Last week, Premier Stephen McNeil declared a state of emergency and announced $1,000 fines for people not adhering to physical distancing rules.

"I'm hearing stories of grocery stores packed with people, groups out playing sports — you are the reckless few," McNeil said at the briefing Sunday. 

McNeil said he's asked Justice Minister Mark Furey to direct police to "escalate their efforts from education to enforcement" by ticketing people and towing vehicles.

"The reckless few, shame on you. If you can't do your part — law enforcement will do it for you."