No new cases of COVID-19 in N.L., following weekend with 4 new instances

·2 min read
Shutterstock/Harry Wedzinga
Shutterstock/Harry Wedzinga

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, after a weekend that saw the province's total caseload increase by four and the first hospitalization in five months.

The province has 10 active cases. There have been 289 recoveries since the first case in March and four deaths. The province's total caseload is 303.

In total, 56,869 people have been tested for COVID-19 across the province as of Monday's update from the Department of Health, including 207 in the last day.

Meanwhile, Tory MHA David Brazil, the shadow critic for the Department of Health and Community Services, is calling for mandatory point of entry testing for essential workers. On Sunday, the government disclosed a new case at the Soldiers Pond work site, involving a worker who had arrived from Russia.

In a statement Monday, Brazil said the Tories have been calling for point of entry testing for months.

"Here we see another example of an essential worker from out of country test positive for COVID-19. The worker was non-symptomatic, worked two shifts at a Nalcor site, and then advised Nalcor that a family member in Russia had tested positive for COVID-19," he said.

"There are two issues here to consider. Did this worker have expertise that isn't available in Newfoundland and Labrador to justify bringing the individual into our province? Also, this person was non-symptomatic and was not required to self-isolate. Government should institute point of entry testing as an added safe guard."

In a media release on Sunday, Nalcor said the man has been following public health protocols which includes self-Isolating in St. John's while not working.

Nalcor said the man has also followed all worksite isolation protocols, worked two night shifts in isolation and believes he did not have close contact with other individuals while at work.

On Monday Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall told reporters the company allows some workers from outside the Atlantic bubble to work at Soldiers Pond, on shifts where there is almost nobody else around — generally a night shift.

Marshall said there were three other people working in a large building at the same time as the man who tested positive, and they were not in close proximity. He noted those three workers have all returned negative COVID-19 test results, and will remain in isolation until they are tested again in the next few days.

"The worker himself, this foreign worker, is showing mild symptoms and is self-isolating," Marshall said.

The company said because of the health and safety protocols in place at Soldiers Pond, it believes the risk to other people working there is low.

Much of the power to be generated at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric megaproject in Labrador will flow to the Soldiers Pond station, which is about 35 kilometres west of St. John's.

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