'Now is the time for us to stay close to home,' says Nova Scotia's top doctor
26 new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Nova Scotia on Wednesday, total number is now 173
Nova Scotia's chief medical officer warned the public Wednesday against finding "loopholes" with COVID-19 restrictions in place across the province.
"Now is not the time to be thinking about how we can get out and continue my usual activities," Dr. Robert Strang said at a press conference.
Some of the restrictions include maintaining physical distancing of at least two metres from other people, not gathering in crowds of more than five people and only going outside to get groceries or go for a walk in one's neighbourhood.
"Understand now is the time for us to stay close to home, minimize our interaction with others to protect each other," Strang said.
He was responding to a petition circulating on social media asking to reopen the sport fishing season. The season has been delayed until May 1 because of COVID-19.
Nova Scotia announced 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the provincial total up to 173.
Premier Stephen McNeil noted the 26 cases in one day is the most recorded to date in the province.
He said while those numbers are "worrisome," it's important to put it in context. He said the province tested more than 1,000 people in 24 hours. That is a fivefold increase over the testing capacity two weeks ago.
"What we are doing as a province so far is working. This doesn't mean that we become complacent or arrogant. The virus does not discriminate and it moves quickly," McNeil said.
He said front-line workers are risking their lives to protect those who need care.
"The very least that we can do is protect them by following these protocols," he said.
2 more cases at Truro Sawmill
On Wednesday evening, J.D. Irving announced two more of its employees at the Truro Sawmill tested positive for COVID-19.
The company said the two employees have not been at the sawmill site since it was cleaned and disinfected by third party emergency response officials on March 28 and March 29, when the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed at the sawmill.
"The mill is undertaking an immediate shut down for a minimum of 24 hours and will work with public health to understand when a safe reopening can be undertaken," the company said in a press release.
COVID-19 was previously confirmed in three seniors facilities: R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, N.S., Lewis Hall, a private retirement-living community in Dartmouth, N.S., and the Magnolia residential care home in Enfield, N.S.
One of the 26 new cases announced Wednesday is a staff member at the Magnolia. That means three staff members and two residents at the facility have now tested positive for COVID-19.
In a news release, the province said residents are being monitored for symptoms of COVID-19, which includes temperature checks twice a day.
Be kind to truck drivers, travellers
Strang said it's important to show support to truck drivers who are delivering goods after hearing reports of "some people not being welcoming to truckers and to travellers."
"They don't have the normal supports that they may have, but they still need access to essentials of food, being able to go to the bathroom," Strang said.
McNeil echoed those comments.
"It's incumbent on all of us to support them in a safe manner, the same as when some of our sons and daughters in other parts of the country are trying to get home to self-isolate with their families," he said.
6,591 negative test results so far
There have been 6,591 negative test results so far in Nova Scotia.
In Tuesday's briefing, Strang said the province will soon start providing more information on where COVID-19 cases are located, with a breakdown by Nova Scotia's four health zones.
Strang also noted four Nova Scotia Health Authority employees tested positive for COVID-19. These cases are separate from the nursing home employees.