23 new COVID-19 cases in N.L. as central Newfoundland cluster grows

·3 min read
Public health is asking people who visited a Lewisporte pharmacy over the course of three days last week to arrange a COVID-19 test after a potential exposure. Twenty-three new COVID-19 cases were reported Sunday. (John Pike/CBC - image credit)
Public health is asking people who visited a Lewisporte pharmacy over the course of three days last week to arrange a COVID-19 test after a potential exposure. Twenty-three new COVID-19 cases were reported Sunday. (John Pike/CBC - image credit)
Public health is asking people who visited a Lewisporte pharmacy over the course of three days last week to arrange a COVID-19 test after a potential exposure. Twenty-three new COVID-19 cases were reported Sunday.
Public health is asking people who visited a Lewisporte pharmacy over the course of three days last week to arrange a COVID-19 test after a potential exposure. Twenty-three new COVID-19 cases were reported Sunday.(John Pike/CBC)

There are 23 new cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador Sunday, the highest single-day case count since Feb. 21.

Twenty of the new cases are located in the Central Health region and connected to the cluster identified in the Lewisporte area. There are 7 women and 13 men. Three of the cases are under the age of 20, nine are in their 20s or 30s, four in their 50s, three in their 60s, and one aged 70 or older.

There are also two cases in the Eastern Health region, two men in their 20s or 30s who travelled within Canada.

A female under the age of 20 has also tested positive in the Western Health region, and is a close contact of a previous case.

There are now 24 confirmed cases in the Lewisporte area cluster, along with eight presumptive cases.

The new cases bring the total number of active cases to 87. By region, there are 29 cases in the Eastern region, 41 in the Central region, 16 in the Western region and one in the Labrador-Grenfell region.

As a result of the jump in cases, public health is advising against travelling in or out of the Lewisporte-Summerford area, except for essential travel. People living in the area are also strongly encouraged to arrange a COVID-19 test, even if symptoms are not shown.

In total, 141,529 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the province, an increase of 286 in the past day.

Four people remain in hospital due to the virus.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald announced the news of the cluster Friday, and encouraged residents to get tested for COVID-19 if they showed even one symptom.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald announced the news of the cluster Friday, and encouraged residents to get tested for COVID-19 if they showed even one symptom.()

Before Sunday's cases were announced, public health officials issued a news release asking anyone who worked at or visited Loblaws pharmacy inside the grocery store at 252 Main Street in Lewisporte between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday or Thursday, or between 9 a.m. and noon on Friday to arrange a COVID-19 test.

Public health said the possible exposure was found as part of its investigation into the cluster.

Those who visited the pharmacy and currently have COVID-19 symptoms are required to isolate until 24 hours after symptoms subside and they receive a negative COVID-19 test. People who don't have symptoms should monitor for symptoms like a fever, cough and congested nose but do not have to isolate unless symptoms develop.

Testing begins in Lewisporte

Testing is now available to residents in communities from Lewisporte to Summerford.

Clinics will be held at the Salvation Army Church in Lewisporte from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, as well as from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday. There is no appointment booking system in place, with the health authority asking residents to wait in their vehicles until advised to move inside for testing.

Those who have had COVID-19 symptoms for fewer than seven days will receive a rapid test, while those without symptoms will get a standard test.

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