(Sherry Vivian/CBC - image credit)
Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 48 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as the province's regional health authorities continue to ramp up testing after the coronavirus variant B117 was discovered in the metro area.
All of the new cases are in the Eastern Health region.
There are also six new presumptive positive cases in the Eastern Health and Labrador-Grenfell Health regions since Wednesday. This is in addition to the 21 presumptive positive cases reported a day ago, and there are now 46 presumptive positive cases awaiting confirmation, according to a Department of Health media release.
Presumptive positive cases are not added to the province's total active case count until they are confirmed by the public health laboratory. The Health Department said 17 of Thursday's new cases were previously presumptive cases.
There have been five new recoveries in the Eastern Health region and one in the Central Health region. The province has 380 active cases, and there are two people in hospital, up from one on Wednesday.
In total, 3,122 people have been tested — for the fourth straight day, a new testing record — in the last 24 hours. The total since March is now 100,639.
By age, Thursday's cases look like this:
12 under 20 years old.
11 between 20 and 39 years old.
10 between 40 and 49 years old.
12 between 50 and 59 years old.
Three over 70 years old.
As of Wednesday 16,458 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the province. Of those, 6,112 were second doses.
The province had received 13,650 Pfizer-BioNTech doses and 7,300 Moderna doses as of Wednesday.
Mobile testing sites
Eastern Health has shut down its temporary drive-thru testing site at Mount Pearl Senior High and moved it to the Reid Community Centre on Smallwood Drive in Mount Pearl.
In a media release the health authority said it has successfully addressed the backlog of tests that resulted from the recent surge. Because there is new testing capacity at the Reid Centre, combined with capacity at the other testing sites such as the Janeway and Waterford hospitals, said the release, there is no longer a need for the site at Mount Pearl Senior High.
"If there is another surge, the school testing site can be ramped up quickly, if needed. This consolidated approach also allows us to redeploy staff to other areas of the organization to best meet patient needs," says the media release.
Testing is done by appointment only. For anyone who does not have access to a vehicle, Eastern Health said walkup appointments are available.
Western Health is holding a rapid testing clinic at the Valley Mall in Corner Brook from Thursday to Monday, and appointments are not required. Clinic hours are 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday through to Monday.
In a media release, Western Health said anyone tested at the rapid testing clinic will receive notification of their test results by text or telephone within four hours. Anyone who is tested at the rapid testing clinic is not required to self-isolate while waiting for their results.
Given the recent outbreak in the St. John's metro area, Western Health said it is particularly interested in testing anyone who has travelled to the St. John's area since Feb. 3, and anyone who attends high school.
Western Health is asking anyone who has a single symptom of COVID-19, visited a location announced in a public health advisory or has been in contact with someone who is positive for COVID 19 to stay clear of the rapid testing clinic, immediately self-isolate and complete self-assessment online or contact 811.
Central Health opened a rapid testing clinic in Grand Falls-Windsor on Wednesday for asymptomatic residents who have travelled from the region to the St. John's area since Feb. 1, as well as anyone who works at or attends Sprucewood Academy, Exploits Valley High or Exploits Valley Intermediate.
Labrador-Grenfell Health opened a new testing site at the Makkovik Community Clinic for Thursday and Friday in collaboration with the Nunatsiavut government's Department of Health.
Appointments are not needed and residents can get a test even if they have not travelled and do not show COVID-19 symptoms.
Labrador-Grenfell Health had three other testing sites operating until 3 p.m. on Thursday in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador City and St. Anthony.