Newfoundland and Labrador outbreak grows with 60 new COVID-19 infections

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported 60 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, nearly two weeks after an outbreak was reported in the capital region.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says people who had been infected — or in contact with a case — at the beginning of the outbreak will soon be out of isolation.

"This means there will be hundreds and perhaps even thousands of individuals coming out of their 14-day self-isolation," Fitzgerald told a news conference in St. John's. "Please remember that life outside self-isolation does not look a whole lot different than inside."

"No matter whether you tested negative or have recovered from COVID, you must still adhere to public health restrictions and apply all your layers of protection," she said.

Fitzgerald also reported nine new presumptive cases of COVID-19, adding that 34 of the new cases reported Friday were previously listed as presumptive.

A presumptive case reported this week in the fly-in Labrador community of Makkovik has turned out to be negative. Fitzgerald was unable to say if the initial test was a false positive but said she would release more information when it becomes available.

It has been a week since the province was placed under the highest pandemic-alert level and Fitzgerald said it was too soon to say how long the province would remain there. She said as long as the number of new cases continues to increase, the chances of lifting restrictions are low.

There are currently 417 active reported cases in the province. Newfoundland and Labrador has reported a total of 863 COVID-19 infections and four deaths linked to the pandemic.

— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press