N.L. adds 357 COVID-19 cases over holiday weekend as Labrador ramps up testing

·7 min read
A presumptive positive case of COVID-19 has been found within the Labrador Inuit settlement, according to the Nunatsiavut government. (Holly Andersen/CBC - image credit)
A presumptive positive case of COVID-19 has been found within the Labrador Inuit settlement, according to the Nunatsiavut government. (Holly Andersen/CBC - image credit)
Holly Andersen/CBC
Holly Andersen/CBC

Newfoundland and Labrador reported 357 new cases of COVID-19 over the holiday weekend, including a single-day record for the province on Sunday.

According to the Department of Health, the province reported 89 cases on Saturday, 135 cases on Sunday and 133 for Monday. The province's previous record for the most cases seen in a day was 100, set on Feb. 11 and Dec. 23

Breaking down the new cases by region, there are 262 in the Eastern Health region, 62 in the Western Health region, 29 in the Central Health region and four in the Labrador-Grenfell Health region..

There are now 677 active cases of COVID-19 in the province — a record-high for Newfoundland and Labrador.

The province didn't say how many people recovered since Friday, but the change in the number of active cases from that update indicates 69 people recovered over the weekend.

One person in the Western Health region is in hospital.

The Health Department said over 7,200 COVID-19 tests were completed over the weekend and the province is remaining in Alert Level 3.

Presumptive positive case in Nunatsiavut

Parts of Labrador are on high-alert Monday, following a possible COVID-19 exposure on four Air Borealis flights last week and the announcement of a presumptive postitive case of COVID-19.

In a news release Monday, officials from the Nunatsiavut government say the individual is in isolation and is awaiting confirmatory testing.

Nunatsiavut and Labrador-Grenfell Health are also working to contact travelers from two flights on Dec. 20, PB961 and PB962, and two flights on Dec. 21, PB961 and PB962. The exposure notice is for all stops along the route — which services the north coast of Labrador — on both days.

Jen White/CBC
Jen White/CBC

Public health is asking travellers on those flights to self-isolate immediately and arrange testing by completing an online assessment or by calling 811.

People who share a household with any of the travellers who were on the flights should also self-isolate until the traveller receives a negative test, the Department of Health said.

Labrador-Grenfell Health said it's working with the Nunatsiavut Department of Health and Social Development and Mushuau Innu First Nation on contact tracing. The health authority said it's implementing COVID-19 testing in coastal clinics.

However, the Nunatsiavut government said some communities are lacking adequate amounts of tests for all affected passengers, according to the news release.

In a statement to CBC News, Labrador-Grenfell Health CEO Heather Brown said all contacts are in isolation and following public health guidelines, but a "small number of people" in the region still have to be tested.

Brown said the health authority is working through a weather delay to get more testing swabs into the community and testing will move forward once the swabs reach their destination.

The Postville Inuit Community Government and the community of Natuashish took to social media to encourage residents to refrain from taking part in activities, visiting or travelling unless for essential or for medical purposes.

Postville Inuit Community Government said it has closed its venue spaces and workout room at the Kaipokok Community Centre. Rentals of the Kaipokok Community Centre and the recreation hall are cancelled. The group said anyone who has bookings in the near future will be contacted and the spaces are closed until further notice.

The Nunatsiavut Government is asking the public to remain calm and to continue adhering to all public health protocols.

"At this point, there are no confirmed positive or presumptive cases of COVID-19 in any Labrador Inuit community," the group said in a media release on Sunday.

President Johannes Lampe said following public health protocols is the best defence against COVID-19. Lampe is asking residents to limit contacts, avoiding gatherings, wear masks, maintain social distancing and stay home if feeling sick.

In central Labrador, the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay said it was contacted by health officials about the developing COVID-19 situation and is working with public health and Labrador-Grenfell Health to complete contact tracing and testing.

Labrador-Grenfell Health also issued a potential exposure notice for several dates at the E.J. Broomfield Memorial Arena. Anyone who visited the arena at the following times should be tested for COVID-19:

  • Dec. 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.

  • Dec. 20 from 8:55 p.m. to 10:25 p.m.

  • Dec. 21 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

  • Dec. 22 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

  • Dec. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

  • Dec. 23 from 7 p.m. to 9:50 p.m.

  • Dec. 24 from 9 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.

The health authority will also be holding vaccination clinics across the region this week. A full list can be found on the Labrador-Grenfell Health website.

More exposure sites in Avalon

Meanwhile, the St. John's area on Newfoundland's east coast has more potential exposure notifications.

Eastern Health is asking anyone who visited or dined in the following to seek testing:

  • The Merchant Tavern, 291 Water St., St. John's, Dec. 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

  • Goodlife Fitness Atlantic Place, Water Street, St. John's, Dec. 19 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Jack's Restaurant in the Capital Hotel, 208 Kenmount Road, St. John's, Dec. 18 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • East Side Mario's, 180 Portugal Cove Road, St. John's, Dec. 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

  • Charmed Hair Salon, 39 Commonwealth Ave, Mount Pearl, Dec. 20 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Essence Medical, 55 Kiwanis St, St. John's, Dec. 20 from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

  • Piatto Pizzeria, 60 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, Dec. 19-22 from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Bannerman Brewery, 90 Duckworth St., St. John's, Dec. 18 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Dec. 19 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Avalon Mall Cineplex, Dec. 19 at 10 p.m., IMAX Spiderman showing.

  • Tommy Hilfiger, Avalon Mall, Dec. 18 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Dec. 20 from 1:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Starbucks, 1 Danny Drive, St. John's, Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Cojones Tacos & Tequila, 1483 Topsail Road, Paradise, Dec. 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m and Dec. 21 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Green Sleeves Pub and Eatery, 14 George Street, St. John's, Dec. 18 2021 from 4:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. and Dec. 19 from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

  • Loose Tie,14 George Street, St. John's, Dec. 18 from 4:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.

  • Sun Sushi, 67 Torbay Rd, St. John's, Dec. 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Mallard Cottage, 8 Barrows Rd, St. John's, Dec. 18 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m

  • Global Pet Foods, 141 Torbay Rd, St. John's, Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 19 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Fionn McCool's, 199 Kenmount Rd, St. John's, Dec. 17 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

  • MacDonald's, 176 Conception Bay Highway, Bay Roberts, Dec. 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m..

  • Big Cheese, 29 Commonwealth Ave, Mount Pearl, Dec. 23 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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