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Nova Scotia reports first COVID-19 related death (update)

'As you're planning your weekend, there's a Nova Scotia family planning life without their loved one because of this virus,' said Stephen McNeil

Nova Scotia has recorded its first death related to COVID-19.

A Cape Breton woman in her 70s with underlying medical conditions died Monday.

An emotional Stephen McNeil started his daily news conference by expressing his condolences to her family.

"There are no words I can say to take away the pain and suffering your family is experiencing today, other than I hope you know this entire province has its entire arms wrapped around you as a family as you go through this very, very difficult time," the premier said Tuesday.

The province's chief medical officer of health called this a stark reminder of why we need to take this disease seriously and continue taking preventative measures.

"It's unfortunate that this death has happened, but we do know the sad reality of COVID-19 is that people do die from this disease," said Dr. Robert Strang. "It's why we're doing what we're doing."

"If we just did nothing and let COVID-19 blaze through our communities, it would be over soon, but we would have hundreds and hundreds of preventable deaths."

He said, in addition to those with the virus, that would include those with other medical issues an overwhelmed health care system wouldn't be able to deal with.

Eleven Nova Scotians with COVID-19 are currently in hospital, Strang says four of them are in the ICU.

As we approach Easter, he stressed the importance of keeping a safe distance away from others.

"There are too many examples of people just not getting it, and by doing that, you're putting all of us at risk," he said.

McNeil said there have been too many people heading out to stores unnecessarily and then not physically distancing once they get there.

"Remember that 6 feet/2 metres apart, all the science says it works, so for crying out loud, just do it," he said.

McNeil ended his news conference with a message for the "reckless and selfish" who continue to ignore safety measures, including those who are attending parties.

"Know this, as you're planning your weekend, there's a Nova Scotia family planning life without their loved one because of this virus," he said. "This virus kills and the only way we can kill it is if we keep our distance from one another."

"For the love of God, stay home and stop partying, please for the sake of our province."

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