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Halifax Premier Stephen McNeil addresses a news conference in Halifax on March 15, 2020.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Public Health officials in Nova Scotia reported two more deaths related to COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 24.

Both deaths were at the Northwood long-term care home, where 18 of the 24 deaths have occurred, in Halifax Regional Municipality.

“Every time a family loses a loved one to this virus, the pain is new. Two more families must say goodbye and not being able to gather with friends and neighbours to mourn together only makes it harder. Your entire province grieves with you,” Premier Stephen McNeil said in a statement.

There are 10 licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors’ facilities in Nova Scotia with cases of COVID-19, involving 197 residents and 95 staff.

The province had reported six deaths on Saturday, with five of them at Northwood.

As of Sunday, Nova Scotia had eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19 for a total of 873.

“We continue to see the devastating impact this virus can have. Please stay strong and stay the course,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health.

Strang encouraged people to get outside and enjoy the spring weather, but advised people to stay close to home and maintain physical distancing from others.

So far, 439 people have now recovered in Nova Scotia and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.

Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new confirmed case of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 258.

Five people are in hospital due to the virus, and two of them are in intensive care.

There have been three deaths from COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador, and 219 people have recovered from the virus so far.

Both Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick reported no new cases of COVID-19 Sunday.

The Island could see an easing of some public health restrictions before the end of this week.

The first phase of New Brunswick’s COVID-19 recovery plan began on Friday.

The plan contains several colour-coded public health alert levels to gradually reopen businesses, educational facilities, the health-care system, recreational activities and cultural events.

Restrictions that have been eased may be reinstated at any time to protect public health.

“We are starting to see hopeful and encouraging signs, but that does not erase the reality that this virus remains out there,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “You still need to continue to practise physical distancing and handwashing.”

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