Nova Scotia reports one new death, 163 new cases of COVID-19

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Nova Scotia health officials reported 163 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and one more death — a man in his 70s in the central health zone.

That death brings the total number of COVID-19-related fatalities in the province to 71.

“Another family is suffering the loss of a loved one, and on behalf of all Nova Scotians, I want to offer my condolences,” said Premier Iain Rankin in a release. “Our province is at a serious point in the pandemic.

“Everyone has a role to play. So, let’s do it together. Let’s get this virus under control.”

Read more: Nova Scotia announces another death, record-breaking 227 new COVID-19 cases

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Of the new cases, 134 are in the central health zone, 13 are in the northern health zone, eight are in the eastern health zone and eight are in the western health zone.

There are now 1,548 active cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. Forty-nine people are in hospital, including seven in ICU.

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The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 6,911 tests on Friday.  The province warned there were at least 200 cases that had yet to be entered into their data system, so case numbers in the next few days would be especially high.

Saturday’s release said Public Health continues to work through a backlog of positive cases.

Cases at care facilities

One of the new cases in the central zone is a staff member at Melville Gardens, a residential care facility in Halifax.

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As well, one of the western zone cases is a staff member at Harbour View Haven, a nursing home in Lunenburg.

Read more: COVID-19: New Brunswick reports 1 more death at special care home

“As a precaution, residents living on the impacted units at both facilities are being isolated and cared for in their rooms,” the release said.

“Staff and residents on the impacted units are being tested. Most residents have been fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.”

Testing delays

The release also reminded the public that there are delays in testing and the province is contacting confirmed positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts by text messages, when possible.

Anyone tested due to a potential exposure, because they have symptoms, or because they were advised to do so by Public Health, should continue to self-isolate until they get a negative test result, as should their household.

If they were present at a high-risk exposure location or if they were a close contact of a confirmed case, they are required to self-isolate for a full 14 days, regardless of their test result.

“In addition, anyone who becomes unwell should assume that they have COVID-19, isolate along with their household and arrange testing,” the release said.

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In a separate release, Nova Scotia’s health authority said it’s “critical” that Nova Scotians answer phone calls that may display an unknown number, or a number from a different part of the province.

“Please answer these calls so the Nova Scotia Health team can provide important COVID-19 information,” said Nova Scotia Health. “This is vital in our fight against COVID-19 that Nova Scotians have the information they require to keep themselves and others safe.”

New restrictions

To help stem the spread of new COVID-19 cases, Premier Iain Rankin and chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang announced a series of new measures during a news conference Friday.

The province said public and private schools will remain closed to students and at-home learning will continue until at least May 31.

New border measures will take effect at 8 a.m. Monday, and will be in place until at least the end of the month:

  • Nova Scotia’s border will close to people intending to move here
  • The border will close to people coming from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador; it was closed previously to non-essential travel from other provinces

According to the province, the following people will be allowed to enter Nova Scotia:

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  • Permanent residents returning to the province
  • People who work outside the province
  • Post-secondary students returning home or entering to study; parents from outside Nova Scotia are not allowed to pick students up or drop them off
  • People traveling for child custody reasons, following the child custody protocol
  • People who are exempt from self-isolation, following the exempt traveler protocol (for example, long-haul truck drivers, airline crew, first responders, people needing essential health services)
  • People who follow the protocol for travel between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for work, school and child care only
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Effective immediately, the province also announced rotational workers returning home from outbreak zones can no longer do the modified form of self-isolation and must self-isolate for 14 days.

Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, the province announced Nova Scotians must designate one shopper per household and retail stores that offer in-person shopping will impose a limit of one shopper per household. Exceptions will be made for children and caregivers.

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Businesses are also being asked to stop selling products that are not essential. Essential products include food, pet supplies, baby and child products and pharmaceutical products.

–With files from Aya Al-Hakim

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