Nfld. & Labrador

23 new COVID-19 cases in N.L. as central Newfoundland cluster grows

Twenty of the new cases announced Sunday are related to the cluster in the Lewisporte-Summerford area, with public health advising against travelling in or out of the area.

Public health advising against travel in or out of Lewisporte-Summerford area

Public health is asking people who visited a Lewisporte pharmacy over the course of three days last week to arrange a COVID-19 test after a potential exposure. Twenty-three new COVID-19 cases were reported Sunday. (John Pike/CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 23 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, the highest single-day total since Feb. 21.

Twenty of the new cases — seven women and 13 men — are in the Central Health region and connected to the cluster identified in the Lewisporte area. Three of the cases are under the age of 20, nine are between 20 and 39, four are in their 50s, three are in their 60s, and one is 70 or older.

There are also two cases in the Eastern Health region, two men between 20 and 39 who travelled within Canada.

A female under the age of 20 has also tested positive in the Western Health region, and is a close contact of a previous case.

There are now 24 confirmed cases in the Lewisporte-area cluster, along with eight presumptive cases.

The new cases bring the total number of active cases to 87. By region, there are 29 cases in the Eastern region, 41 in the Central region, 16 in the Western region and one in the Labrador-Grenfell region.

As a result of the jump in cases, public health is advising against non-essential travel in or out of the Lewisporte-Summerford area. People living in the area are also being asked to arrange a COVID-19 test, even if they don't have symptoms.

In total, 141,529 people in the province have been tested for COVID-19, an increase of 286 in the past day.

Four people are in hospital due to the virus.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald announced the news of the cluster Friday, and encouraged residents to get tested for COVID-19 if they have even one symptom.

Before Sunday's cases were announced, public health officials issued a news release asking anyone who worked at or visited Loblaws pharmacy inside the grocery store at 252 Main St. in Lewisporte between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday or Thursday, or between 9 a.m. and noon on Friday, to arrange a COVID-19 test.

Public health said the possible exposure was found in its investigation into the cluster.

Those who visited the pharmacy and have COVID-19 symptoms are required to self-isolate until 24 hours after symptoms subside and they receive a negative COVID-19 test. People who don't have symptoms should monitor for symptoms like a fever, cough and congested nose but do not have to self-isolate unless symptoms develop.

Testing begins in Lewisporte

Testing is now available to residents in communities from Lewisporte to Summerford.

Clinics will be held at the Salvation Army Church in Lewisporte from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, as well as from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday. There is no appointment booking system in place, and the health authority asking residents to wait in their vehicles until advised to move inside for testing.

Those who have had COVID-19 symptoms for less than seven days will receive a rapid test, while those without symptoms will get a standard test.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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