N.L. records seven new COVID-19 infections, first hospitalization of 2021
A nurse holds a vial containing a patient’s test swab during a drive-thru Covid-19 testing centre in this Wednesday, November 18, 2020 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
TORONTO -- Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed on Monday that the province added seven new COVID-19 infections and its first hospitalization this year due to the disease.
Of the new cases, six are in the eastern health region and another in the western region.
The province also announced another 21 “presumptive positive” cases in the eastern region.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical of officer of health, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, confirmed one person was in hospital suffering from a variant of the virus that swept through the St. John's area. No other details were released about the patient.
“You cannot assume you do not have the virus,” Fitzgerald said at a news conference Monday afternoon. “Our key concern right now [is] our residents living in long-term care homes. If the variant were to make its way into a seniors’ facility, [it] would very likely have devastating consequences.”
The province’s top doctor said officials were still trying to determine the source of the outbreak.
“We haven't identified a source for this latest outbreak and, unfortunately … that may be a little bit of time coming, because public health right now is just caught up with trying to contact trace and test and isolate people, and do that very important work to make sure that, you know, there's no onward transmission,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said while the virus variant first discovered in the United Kingdom is estimated to be 70 per cent more transmissible than the original strain, it isn't yet known if it causes more serious illness.
On Friday, officials announced the province is now at Alert Level 5, the most restrictive level of its COVID-19 response plan, which prohibits gatherings of more than five people.