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4 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, 1 confirmed

The number of presumptive cases of COVID-19 has increased in Nova Scotia, according to public health officials.
The number of presumptive cases of COVID-19 has increased in Nova Scotia, according to public health officials. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, has announced two new presumptive cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of presumptive COVID-19 cases in the province to four as of Monday. One case has also been confirmed.

READ MORE: How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

The two new cases are in Halifax Regional Municipality and are reportedly related. The couple, both in their 50s, were in close contact with individuals who had recently travelled outside the country.

Strang said officials are investigating who the infected couple were exposed to and if there were other Nova Scotians who have been exposed at the same time.

“We know that they were at events that had people coming outside of the country,” said Strang. “It’s under active investigation.”

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He also said one of the presumptive cases announced Sunday has been confirmed to be positive.

Coronavirus outbreak: Two new COVID-19 cases announced in Nova Scotia
Coronavirus outbreak: Two new COVID-19 cases announced in Nova Scotia
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“We will see more [cases] and we will at some point see ones spreading through the community,” Strang said.

But for now, he said it’s important to maintain good hygiene and minimize contact with others.

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The province said the two other individuals in the household are now in self-isolation and are also being tested.

“Public health has been in contact with these individuals and [is] working to identify others who may have come in close contact with them,” the province said in a press release.

The individuals are also being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

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READ MORE: Canadians abroad urged to return home while ‘commercial options still available’

At the press briefing, McNeil reminded people who have travelled outside of Canada to self-isolate for 14 days, with no exceptions.

Strang also stressed that at this point it’s mandatory for people who came from abroad to self-isolate.

McNeil reassured parents that as daycares close Monday, their spots in those facilitates will be protected.

Moreover, if parents want to send their children to stay with friends or neighbours, they are encouraged to do so, but must limit the number of children to five.

The premier later clarified through his Facebook account that smaller operations who have six children or less of any age, and eight children or less of school age can continue to operate.

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He said these child care providers are strongly encouraged to follow the advice and direction from public health related to hand washing, cleaning, sanitizing and monitoring children and parents for symptoms.

“This is having a tremendous impact, not just on our economy, but on our national economy as well,” said McNeil.

“We want to make sure that those who are employed in small businesses continue to be employed.”

McNeil said his advice to everyone is to continue to support one another as the community works to follow public health guidelines and recommendations.

Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada or has been in close contact with someone who has travelled and is experiencing a fever of above 38 C and/or a new cough is asked to complete the province’s online questionnaire before calling 811.

As of March 16, Nova Scotia has completed 676 tests for COVID-19, with 671 negative results and five presumptive positive cases.