Nfld. & Labrador

Visitation restricted at St. Clare's after employee tests positive

Public visitation has been temporarily suspended for a section of St. Clare's Mercy Hospital in St. John's after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, Eastern Health said Wednesday, just hours after a modified special measures order came into place for the metro region.

Staff member was asymptomatic, Eastern Health says; patients on Unit 6 East now in isolation

A staff member at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital in St. John's has tested positive for COVID-19. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Public visitation has been temporarily suspended for a section of St. Clare's Mercy Hospital in St. John's after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, Eastern Health said Wednesday, just hours after a modified special measures order came into effect for the metro region to curb the community transmission of the virus.

The staff member was asymptomatic, the health authority said in a media release Wednesday morning, and tested positive on Tuesday afternoon. 

The number of employees who are potentially affected is not yet known.

Visitors will not be allowed on Unit 6 East at the hospital until further notice.The ward is a general surgery and thoracic surgery unit, said the health authority. 

"There is no known impact to patients at this time," reads the release. "All patients on the unit have been put on isolation and will be tested between day five to seven of the exposure."

"Contact tracing has been completed and there is no identified risk for staff on other units or facilities at this time."

Patients were placed in isolation and enhanced cleaning is already underway, said Eastern Health in a statement. 

It's unclear whether the person who tested positive previously received a COVID-19 vaccine. Eastern Health cited privacy reasons for not disclosing that. 

Just hours after the media release was issued, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald announced 53 new COVID-19 cases for the province, with another 32 presumptive positive cases. 

K-12 schools in the St. John's metro area are now closed for in-person learning, and remote learning will take place. 

Earlier this week,  Fitzgerald confirmed there is community spread of COVID-19 in the metro St. John's, and she warned there will be more new cases discovered in the coming days, with hundreds of people in isolation as contact tracing and testing continues.

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