N.L. marks 4th straight day of no new COVID-19 cases, while cluster still under scrutiny

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Newfoundland and Labrador has no new cases of COVID-19, the Department of Health and Community Services said Tuesday, while renewing its calls for people who visited three St. John's establishments to seek testing.

The department is still investigating the source of a small cluster after five people in the Eastern Health region tested positive last week.

Health officials are asking anyone at the Duke of Duckworth, the Rose and Thistle Pub and Piatto Pizzeria — all in downtown St. John's — at specified times last week to isolate and call 811 to arrange for a test.

A suspected case connected to an Eastern Health daycare, meanwhile, has not been confirmed positive. The department said no other children or staff have contracted the virus to date.

The number of active cases remains at 13, with one person in hospital. 80,747 people have been tested since March, according to department numbers.

On the national front, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that Ottawa had locked down a deal with vaccine manufacturer Novavax for domestic manufacturing.

A facility in Montreal is slated to begin producing the Novavax product this summer, Trudeau said.

The move is expected to curtail delays, reduced foreign shipments and vaccine protectionism. Those delays and reductions have already affected Newfoundland and Labrador, with Labrador-Grenfell Health postponing next week's immunization program in parts of Labrador until it receives its allocation of the Moderna shots.

Novavax says its protein-based vaccine was 89.3 per cent effective in late stage clinical trials, with strong protection against the strain of the virus first reported in the U.K., which has shown to be more resistant to other vaccine candidates.

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