Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. reports 7th death related to COVID-19, and 3 new cases

A man over the age of 70 in the Eastern Health region has died from the virus. No other details have been released.

Anxiety grows on Newfoundland's west coast, which remains in Alert Level 4

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting its seventh death due to COVID-19. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting its seventh death due to COVID-19.

A man in the Eastern health region over the age of 70 died from the virus, according to a media release from the Department of Health. No other details have been released.

The province is also reporting three new cases. The first is a man over 70 in the Central Health region. The case is under investigation. 

The second case is a male in the Western Health region under the age of 20, a contact of a previous case and connected to the cluster on Newfoundland's west coast. 

The third case is a woman in her 40s in the Western Health region. The case is under investigation. 

There are also two presumptive positive cases in the province unrelated to any known cluster.

With 10 new recoveries since Monday, the province's active caseload drops to 62, its lowest number since May 6. There is one person in hospital due to COVID-19.

Anxiety on Newfoundland's west coast

All of the province is in Alert Level 2, except for the St. George's-Stephenville-Port-au-Port area, which is in Alert Level 4. 

The investigation into the cluster of cases in the Western Health region is ongoing. As of now, there are 31 confirmed cases and one presumptive case associated with the cluster. The source of infection is still unknown. 

Stephenville Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow says the mood remains tense given the heightened alert level, which has been in place for more than a week due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

"I think we just need to hang in there, do the best we can and continue to follow the protocols from public health and continue to put our faith in the information they are giving us even though often that is challenging. We have to assume the experts are the ones in the know," said Fowlow.

Keith Muise, a dad in Stephenville, wishes the schools in Stephenville area were closed to alleviate some anxiety amid a COVID-19 outbreak whose source is still unknown. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

A Stephenville parent says schools should be closed while there's a cluster of COVID-19 cases in the area.

Keith Muise and his seven-year-old son are in isolation because his son was a close contact of a positive case connected with a school.

The Newfoundland and English School District has kept the schools open, and public health has not advised schools to close, but Muise says many parents are nervous about sending their children to a classroom.

Susan Fowlow, the deputy mayor of Stephenville, says the mood in the region is tense. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

He says the information is confusing, considering public health guidelines suggest staying home as much as possible, going out only for essentials.   

"People are super-anxious, obviously.… We thought online learning was ready to go for situations just like this. You literally have cases in schools. how can you mange that?" he said. 

The school district says it makes its decisions based on public health guidelines and there is no reason to close schools at this time.

Kimble Muise, 7, is pictured here during online learning from home. He is self-isolating after being identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case connected with his school. (Submitted by Keith Muise)

The investigation into the cluster continues.

In a statement from Western Health, the health authority says there has not been a risk identified in schools that would support closing them and they have remained open in other locations in Alert Level 4. 

"Occasionally there has been transmission to close contacts in a school setting; broader transmission in schools in the Western Health region has not been noted during the pandemic," says the statement.

Cases reported May 27, June 3, June 4 and June 5 in the Western Health region remain under investigation.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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