HALIFAX, N.S. –
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia health officials confirmed 55 new cases of COVID-19 over a weekend that Prime Minister Stephen McNeil described as long and difficult.
In what has become a regular event, McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, held a live online video conference on Sunday to update the status of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.
The 26 new cases identified on Saturday and the 29 confirmed cases on Friday bring the total number of Nova Scotians who contracted coronavirus to 262. There have been no coronavirus-related deaths in the province. Public health officials say that although nearly 10,000 tests have already been performed, continuous testing is expected to start today at the Halifax laboratory. The laboratory will be able to perform up to 1,000 tests per day.
“We now know that this disease is rampant in our communities and that is why we are adjusting our screening strategy – we want to have more options to identify and test COVID-19 in our communities,” said Strang, who acknowledged that six Nova Scotia patients are now hospitalized and 53 others have fully recovered and their cases are considered closed.
“We have to be flexible and be able to react quickly to the path that this disease can take. When we identify communities where our surveillance has identified an increase in disease activity, we can create temporary assessment centers if there is no center nearby. ”
Strang announced that the first mobile assessment center will be installed on Sunday in Elmsdale due to increased coronavirus activity in East Hants. He also indicated that a mobile testing unit may soon be available in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
“These centers are not accessible to people without an appointment – people must be referred by 811 or by a primary care doctor and have an appointment scheduled,” said Strang.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health also added that the age of coronavirus patients in the province ranges from less than 10 years to over 90 years.
The province also disaggregated the cases on a regional basis. The central region, including Halifax, has 175 confirmed cases, while the western region has 38, the northern region 25 and the eastern region, which includes Cape Breton Island, 24 cases.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister continued to implore Nova Scotians to “stay home” and to be vigilant about the practice of social distancing and isolation.
“We are all in the same boat and the only way out is that we all do our part to respect the rule – people have to stay at home,” said McNeil, who added that he is always disappointed to hear Nova Scotia residents who continue to challenge public health regulations that the police now enforce throughout the province.
Nova Scotia has been in a state of emergency since March 22.