Nfld. & Labrador

5 new cases of COVID-19 in N.L., including health-care worker at St. Anthony hospital

The employee had no identifiably close contact with patients, according to the Department of Health, but a temporary drive-thru testing clinic has been set up and will extend into Wednesday.

There have been 38 new recoveries since Monday

A testing clinic opened today in St. Anthony for anyone concerned about contact with a positive case at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, including a positive case among hospital staff in St. Anthony, while the province's active caseload continues to drop.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health reported five new cases and 38 new recoveries, leaving 203 active cases — less than half of the peak caseload of the variant cluster.

A heartening recovery pattern has seen more recoveries than new cases since the chief medical officer of health introduced strict provincewide restrictions on Feb. 12, following an outbreak of coronavirus variant B117 in the metro St. John's area. In the past week, the province has notched 171 recoveries along with 40 new cases.

Since Friday, most of the province has now moved to Alert Level 4, meaning some non-essential businesses can reopen. The Avalon Peninsula remains in Alert Level 5 at least until mid-month.

"We are still on track to assess alert levels for all areas of the province on March 12," Fitzgerald said at Monday's briefing. "Before we can do that, we need to be confident that the risk of transmission is reduced," for a period of ideally two weeks.

Four of Tuesday's new cases are in the Eastern Health region and remain under investigation, while the fifth is a health-care worker at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony under the age of 40.

That staffer had no identifiably close contact with patients, according to the Department of Health; however, the local health authority has set up a temporary drive-thru testing clinic as a precaution.

The clinic will continue Wednesday, from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. The site is set up at the back of the old hospital, at Apt 209, 178-200 West St. 

One staffer at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony has tested positive for the virus. All close contacts have been identified, according to the Department of Health. (www.electives.net)

St. Anthony Deputy Mayor Eric Boyd told CBC anyone wanting a test should avail of the clinic.

"You don't have to get out of your vehicle," he said, noting although numbers on the Northern Peninsula have remained low and stable throughout the pandemic, the St. John's outbreak reveals just how quickly a cluster can take root.

He warned residents to abide public health guidelines. "That's the only way we're going to get out of this," he said.

"We all got our concerns. We're all nervous … you can't become complacent."

Nine people are in hospital because of the virus, down from 11 on Monday. Five of those are in intensive care.

Eastern Health also confirmed another positive case associated with a recent cluster at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital in St. John's. A total of 13 staff members and patients have now caught the virus.

The health authority told CBC that 97 per cent of staff at St. Clare's have now been tested.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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