N.L. marks 30 new recoveries, 9 new cases of COVID-19 as officials urge small Thanksgiving gatherings

·4 min read
Dr. Rosann Seviour, Newfoundland and Labrador's acting chief medical officer of health, is recommending people keep their contacts low during Thanksgiving.  (Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Dr. Rosann Seviour, Newfoundland and Labrador's acting chief medical officer of health, is recommending people keep their contacts low during Thanksgiving. (Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada
Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, two in the Eastern Health region and seven in the Central Health region, where new cases continue to rise.

The Central Health cases are under investigation. One of Eastern Health's cases is related to travel, while the other is a contact of a previous case, announced Dr. Rosann Seviour, acting chief medical officer of health, at the province's COVID-19 briefing Wednesday afternoon.

There's also one new presumptive positive case in central Newfoundland.

Fourteen people are now in hospital, up one from 13 on Tuesday.

The province is also reporting 30 new recoveries, all in the Central Health region. Newfoundland and Labrador's active caseload is now 132, down from 153 on Tuesday.

As Thanksgiving weekend approaches, Seviour recommended people keep gatherings limited to just 20 people starting Wednesday and for the next two weeks.

"This will help to limit the number of contacts that each person has to prevent further spread of COVID-19," she said.

"We know that that's going to have an impact on transmission if there is COVID that's introduced into that house, we also know it's a number any stress off our acute-care system and it's also a number that allows us to adequately contact trace people at an event."

Watch the full Oct. 6 update:

While the province's COVID-19 caseload has been steadily rising in recent weeks, Seviour noted vaccination rates are also rising.

Nearly 90 per cent of the province's eligible population have had at least one dose, while roughly 82 per cent have had two doses.

"I know it's been a long, and hard and trying 19 months for everybody. No doubt there's pandemic fatigue and we all want to put COVID-19 behind us," Seviour said.

"We have come so far since March 2020, when the World Health Organization declared the pandemic. We need to continue our focus on minimizing serious illness and death while allowing society to function."

Hospital capacity

Most of the province's hospitalizations are in the Central Health region, which Health Minister John Haggie said has put "significant stress" on COVID-19 and intensive-care units. Haggie said health-care staff in Western Health have volunteered to lend a hand to their neighbouring health authority in central Newfoundland.

Haggie said Eastern Health in St. John's have also accepted patients for ventilation and COVID-19 care to try to even out the load.

"And I know there's a redistribution of non-COVID work between Gander and Grand Falls, demonstrating very nicely how those two facilities can work together to provide a complete service to the people of central," he said.

Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada
Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada

On Wednesday morning, a Central Health spokesperson told CBC News the region has 11 hospitalizations, and staffing resources have been challenged by an increase in admissions and discharges in recent weeks, a number of staff self-isolating, and increased swabbing clinics and vaccination clinics.

"Capacity issues existed before COVID, but we now find ourselves in a place where the strain on our resources has compounded," the spokesperson wrote in a emailed statement.

Central Health has nine rooms in its COVID-19 unit, and can manage up to 19 patients outside its ICU.

There are nine ICU beds total in Central Health, the spokesperson said, with five of them available for COVID patients. The health authority also has seven ICU beds available in a special COVID-19 surge space.

Five patients are currently in the COVID-19 unit, and six are receiving ICU-level care, the spokesperson said.

Community spread in central Newfoundland was the major concern for health officials over the last few weeks as COVID-19 swept through areas of Baie Verte, Twillingate and Bishop's Falls.

Seviour said cases attached to those clusters are beginning to drop in part because of the public health team doing contact tracing and residents being co-operative in self-isolating and getting tested.

"We were very fortunate. We did have to close one school, but it's my understanding that school will be opening up in the coming days," Seviour said.

On Thursday the province is expected to release full details on its COVID-19 passport. The passport itself is expected to be introduced Friday.

Haggie said the announcement won't address mandatory vaccines, as those consultations won't clew up until the end of the week. He said more information on mandatory vaccinations will be announced after the holiday weekend.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting