3 in hospital due to COVID-19 as NL scrambles to put more boosters in arms

Three people are now hospitalized in Newfoundland and Labrador with COVID-19. (Paul Daly / CBC)

The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Newfoundland and Labrador rose from one to three on Wednesday, as health officials continue to try to get as many people vaccinated and boosted as possible.

The province reported 479 new cases on Tuesday, including 288 in Eastern Health Region, 97 in Labrador-Grenfell Health Region, 57 cases in Western Health Region, 30 in Central Health Region and seven cases treated in private laboratories. All cases are under investigation. As of Tuesday’s update, 3,615 tests have been performed, for a test positivity rate of 13.3%. A total of 411,656 tests have now been performed in the province.

Test positivity is the percentage of COVID-19 tests performed that produced a positive result. The higher the positivity rate, the higher the degree of transmission, but the number does not necessarily reflect the overall positivity of the general population. The province has told people in some cases, for example, that they don’t need a test to confirm COVID-19 if they are close contact from a previous case and are symptomatic for COVID-19.

With 68 new recoveries, there are now 3,665 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, up from 3,254 on Tuesday.

No more closures, no more clinics

As cases continue to rise, Eastern Health is offering more booster vaccination locations this week and adding a walk-in clinic at Waterford Valley High School on Wednesday, specifically for essential workers aged 30 and over.

Workers who fit the bill include healthcare workers including personal care homes, community care homes, assisted living staff and home support workers, first responders, teachers, daycare operators and staff. The clinic operates until 8 p.m.

Residents of the Trepassey area will see a clinic open Friday at the Nurse Abernathy clinic from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm The clinic is available to people who do not yet have an appointment at the next Eastern clinic. Health on January 11. in the community.

Efforts are also being made to ensure that people living in long-term care homes receive their third dose of the vaccine, as Eastern Health’s head of infection prevention and control says, almost all facilities long-term care or personal care homes in eastern Newfoundland had exposure to covid19.

Dr. Natalie Bridger told CBC News Tuesday that Eastern Health’s list of potential exposure sites is long and changing rapidly.

“It is incredibly difficult to contain this virus because it is spreading faster than we can know it is even there,” said Bridger.

Cases of COVID-19 are arriving at health facilities in eastern Newfoundland. (SRC)

Bridger said all long-term care residents have not yet received a COVID-19 booster injection, but a rapid booster rollout for at-risk residents remains a priority for Eastern Health as cases increase.

She said exposures in long-term care facilities likely came from staff who were unaware they were infected, or from visitors who were inside buildings before health officials tightened up. restrictions on who can visit.

“Most of these situations are what we consider to be establishments of collective life. So you have a group of people living under one roof and this is known to be a good risk factor for getting COVID infections throughout the pandemic, but even more so now. “

In central and western Newfoundland, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Monika Dutt said it was a similar situation and community transmission of COVID-19 is impacting staff health.

“Whenever there can be someone positive who has worked in an establishment, we follow up with the establishments,” she said.

Dr. Monika Dutt, medical officer of health for central and western Newfoundland, says community transmission affects healthcare workers. (Colleen Connors / CBC)

“So we’re seeing this in different places in the regions… It’s something that we are seeing all over the province.”

Concern continues

Eastern Health canceled all outpatient appointments at St. John’s Dr. LA Miller Center on Tuesday after five patients tested positive for COVID-19 in one unit.

The health authority said a “small number” of staff have also tested positive, but has not confirmed that the positive cases are linked to patients on the unit.

Bridger fears cases in long-term care will continue to rise.

She said the increase in cases is the result of infections that began a week or more ago, but she hopes public health measures slow the spread.

“I hope it will be a quick epidemic,” she said. “But I think we’re going to see more cases in long-term care facilities, and that concerns me.”

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador will go virtual until January 28, according to a press release. Non-urgent cases that cannot be conducted virtually will be postponed, the court said.

The offices of the Supreme Court will remain open and anyone who needs to go to court to file or retrieve documents is encouraged to use the drop boxes inside the main entrance to courthouses available during office hours. normal court opening.

People who require in-person service will always be able to come to the register counter. In St. John’s, anyone needing the General Division or Family Division register should make an appointment using the court’s website.

The Court of Appeal follows suit by going virtual, unless the parties indicate otherwise.

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