17 more positive COVID-19 cases confirmed in Nova Scotia, total now 68

Nova Scotia has identified 17 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the province’s total to 68 confirmed cases as of March 25.

A government news release says the cases are travel-related or connected to cases that were previously reported.

“Several of the new cases are connected to groups or families who have returned to Nova Scotia following travel outside of Canada,” it said. “None of these cases are from spread within the community.”

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang and Premier Stephen McNeil will provide a public update at 3 p.m. AT.

According to the news release, the 68 individuals range in age from younger than 10 to mid-70s.

“Cases have been identified in all parts of the province,” said the release. “One individual remains in hospital. Two individuals have recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.”

To date, the province has 2,772 negative tests to go along with the 68 confirmed cases.

Anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia must self-isolate for 14 days.

On Tuesday, McNeil announced plans to boost the province’s 811 system with more staff and more phone lines. The system has been pushed to capacity, with some people reporting long waits trying to get through. The premier promised the system would be further enhanced in the coming days.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority has identified the regional hospitals it would be using as sites for COVID-19 in-patient treatment. They include the regional hospitals in Antigonish, Sydney, Truro and Yarmouth, along with the Dartmouth General and Halifax Infirmary. The IWK Health Centre will also provide in-patient care for COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization.

Strang said testing will now include all close contacts of confirmed cases, even if they aren’t showing symptoms, and anyone who is admitted to hospital with severe symptoms consistent with the virus. Testing capacity in Nova Scotia has doubled to 400 per day.

Provincial officials have called on the public to practise social distancing at all times and stay home and within their neighbourhoods as much as possible to reduce risk of the virus spreading.

People are being encouraged to send only one person from a household to the grocery store or pharmacy and for people to offer help to neighbours for whom that might not be possible.

Anyone experiencing a fever of at least 38 C or a new cough is asked to fill out an online questionnaire before calling 811. 

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