Newfoundland sees COVID-19 cases decline as variant threat simmers

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting a sharp downturn in daily COVID-19 cases, with seven new cases confirmed today as fears over a rapidly spreading variant of the virus linger on the island.

The new cases follow a total of 18 confirmed cases in the previous two days, a marked decline from a daily count that shot up to 100 late last week.

The province had been a model of low coronavirus numbers until the mutation first identified in the United Kingdom and known as the B.1.1.7 variant flared up suddenly over the past week and a half, prompting lockdowns and causing the government to delay the provincial election, with voting to be conducted entirely by mail.

Meanwhile Ontario is reporting 904 new COVID-19 cases today as well as 964 cases that were not reported on the Family Day holiday.

The sizable figures come the same day the province lifts a stay-at-home order in most regions, allowing restaurants and gyms to reopen with capacity limits in some areas, depending on the colour-coded restriction level.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline across the country, but that more contagious variants pose a renewed threat to Canadians.

Tam says the mutations threaten "to flare up into a rapidly spreading blaze," with the B.1.1.7 variant now present in all 10 provinces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press