1 case of COVID-19 now confirmed in Nova Scotia, 4 more are presumptive

Nova Scotia now has one confirmed case of COVID-19 and four presumptive cases, the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, said at a briefing Monday afternoon.

Two new presumptive cases, both in the Halifax area, were announced in a news release earlier Monday, bringing the provincial total to five cases.

Strang said the latest cases are a man and a woman in their 50s who attended an "international event" in Nova Scotia where they likely had close contact with people who had recently been outside of the country.

Strang said the province is working to determine what the event was, where it was hosted and who attended. He couldn't give any further details about the event.

The man and woman are now at home in self-isolation. Two other people who live with them are also in self-isolation.

The two new cases come a day after Nova Scotia reported its first presumptive cases of COVID-19 and Premier Stephen McNeil announced schools and daycares in the province will close for two weeks following March Break.

Presumptive cases are individuals who have tested positive, but still await confirmation with the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.

Strang said confirmation from Winnipeg can take up to 24 to 48 hours.

The province has conducted 676 tests so far and all but five have been negative. The province is publishing the latest numbers on its website.

Halifax municipal update

In a briefing Monday afternoon, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said he and his staff are no longer self-isolating after potential exposure to someone who was being tested for COVID-19.

The mayor's office closed last week after an employee came in contact with a relative who was potentially infected at a conference. The individual's test results came back negative.

Savage said staff are encouraged to abide by social distancing and council meetings are cancelled until further notice.

In the briefing, he confirmed essential services including police, fire, garbage pickup and transit services will continue to operate.

However, municipally owned recreation facilities, community centres and arenas will close until further notice Monday evening and all municipal in-person events have been postponed.

What's happening in other provinces

Many other provinces have also announced the extended closure of schools. Quebec, which has 50 confirmed cases, has also ordered the closure of bars, clubs, gyms and movie theatres.

Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said Monday there are 407 cases in Canada. There have been four deaths in Canada.

Tam has urged Canadians to "act now and act together." Experts are warning widespread community transmission is likely underway in many parts of the country.

Community transmission is the spread of an illness with no known link to travel or previously confirmed cases and can signal a growing number of cases going unreported.