‘Stay the blazes home,’ McNeil warns as Nova Scotia COVID-19 cases surpass 200

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has a message for anyone looking for loopholes to the province’s COVID-19 restrictive measures: stay the blazes home.

“The virus will find you. Then it finds your loved ones. Then it finds your neighbourhoods. Then we have community spread,” McNeil said at a press briefing Friday. “Then everyone is putting pressure on public health to solve it, and our health-care system to deal with it.

“When all we have to do is stay the blazes home.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia extends coronavirus state of emergency, announces new support funds

The blunt message came after the province announced 14 additional cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total to 207.

“I am not trying to scare you, but part of me wishes you were scared,” he said. “This is serious.”

McNeil added that he’s tired of hearing of grocery stores, Walmarts, and Tim Hortons parking lots filled with cars “as if we’re not in the midst of a deadly pandemic.”

“We are,” he said.

5 hospitalized, 21 recovered

The province says the 14 new cases were identified after almost 900 tested were completed at the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab on Thursday.

“While most cases in Nova Scotia are connected to travel or a known case, as reported previously, there is one confirmed case of community transmission and more cases are expected to present,” the province said in a news release.

 

Of the 14 new cases, 12 tested positive in the central area of the province. There was one new case for both the western and northern areas of the province.

Positive cases have now been identified 130 times in the central district, 33 times in western, and 22 times in both norther and eastern.

Of the 207 cases, 51 per cent are male and 49 per cent are female. Twenty-one individuals have recovered and five are currently in hospital.

READ MORE: NSHA issues public advisory of two potential COVID-19 exposures

Nova Scotia extended its state of emergency by two weeks on Thursday. The province also announced a pair of funds that are meant to help workers and small businesses.

To date, 8,234 tests have come back negative.

With files from Alexander Quon. 

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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