Six more people have died of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, all at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax.
So far, 37 people in the province have died from the virus — 31 from Northwood.
However, the care home is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 among its staff and residents. There are still 305 cases within the facility, with 34 recoveries.
The province is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of positive cases to 971. To date, 624 people are considered to be recovered.
Six people are in hospital with the virus, three in intensive care.
The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 734 Nova Scotia tests on Saturday. To date, there have been 29,945 negative test results.
As of Saturday, 10 licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors facilities in Nova Scotia have cases of COVID-19, involving 239 residents and 109 staff.
Premier eases restrictions for mental health
Many provincial and municipal parks reopened but physical distancing rules and a maximum gathering of five people or fewer from the same household still apply.
Premier Stephen McNeil told CBC National News on Sunday that the province eased restrictions to boost morale, referencing the province’s COVID-19 deaths, the mass shooting, and the military helicopter crash.
“Self-isolation was taking its toll. We felt that it was in the best interest of all of us to find some way to get outdoors … but we are not through this pandemic yet,” McNeil said.
“It was a balance for us and it really was trying to work toward ensuring that we tried to protect the mental health of Nova Scotians.”
People, dogs flock to parks
Nova Scotians took advantage of the opening of parks and trails by getting outside on Sunday.
At the Halifax Common, Drew Milne was using the recently opened green space to work on a prototype kite that can support a camera for aerial photography.
Milne lives on Cornwallis Street and had to navigate the flags that were used to close the park every day.
“It felt pretty constraining after a while so it’s nice to feel like you can walk into open space and you’re not going to get a ticket for it,” Milne said.
Peter Schnare was also in the Halifax Common Sunday, playing with his two dogs.
Schnare said while the parks were closed, he would walk his two Australian shepherds for about 15 kilometres each day and toss the ball around, but it still wasn’t enough for the active pups.
“Now that [the parks] are back open, I can throw the ball for an hour, hour-and-a-half, and I’m done for the day and they’re done for the day and everybody’s happy,” Schnare said.
‘Doing this for the long haul’
Richard Zurawski, the Halifax councillor for District 12, said in a Facebook post that he witnessed a number of people not respecting physical distancing rules in the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Wilderness area on Saturday.
Zurawski warned residents not to take advantage of eased restrictions just yet, reminding people that proper physical distancing is still required.
“In order to get a change in the COVID-19 numbers … people have been made aware that they would be ticketed, that they would not be allowed to go to certain areas,” Zurawski said.
“And as a result it looks like we flattened the curve a bit, but we’re doing this for the long haul. This is a novel virus and whether it’s too early or not too early, is dependent on how people behave.”
Symptoms to look for
The following is a list of symptoms for COVID-19:
- New or worsening cough.
- Sore throat.
- Runny nose.
Anyone with two or more of those symptoms should visit 811’s website for a self-assessment questionnaire to determine if 811 should be called for further assessment.