Emerging COVID-19 cluster in Marystown made up mostly of students under 12, says Fitzgerald – .

Emerging COVID-19 cluster in Marystown made up mostly of students under 12, says Fitzgerald – .

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald is encouraging young adults in Newfoundland and Labrador to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 30 new cases of COVID-19, all but three in the eastern health region of the province, where there is a growing cluster in the Marystown area.

Twenty-two of the new cases are people under the age of 20, Dr Janice Fitzgerald, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said in a surprise coronavirus briefing on Friday afternoon. All are contacts from a previous case, she said.

“I wish I had been here with better news on this beautiful Friday afternoon,” said Fitzgerald, who noted an outbreak at Sacred Heart Academy in Marystown, on the Burin Peninsula.

“We now have 25 cases in the region, 22 of them under 12 and mostly of school age. “

On Thursday, the Anglophone school district of Newfoundland and Labrador suspended classes at the school. In a note to families, the district said this was “due to an increase in COVID-19 cases linked to the school community.”

The Académie du Sacré-Coeur has approximately 380 students from kindergarten to grade 7. The NLESD said in its memo that online learning will begin on Monday. Fitzgerald said 21 students were infected across all classes.

“We do not know the source of the epidemic. However, as with all outbreaks, public health officials are working diligently on investigation and contact tracing, ”said Fitzgerald.

Following the outbreak, Fitzgerald said several communities on the Burin Peninsula will go to Alert Level 3 at midnight.

Alert Level 3 means that new public health restrictions will be in place for affected communities. Households can mingle with up to 10 close and consistent contacts. Official gatherings are limited to a maximum of 20 people.

Watch the full update from October 22:

Fitzgerald said the affected area stretches from Red Harbor in the south to Epworth and Great Salmonier and includes Jean de Baie, Spanish Room, Rock Harbor, Marystown, Beau Bois, Fox Cove-Mortier, Burin, Lewin’s Cove, Frenchman’s Cove and Garnish.

The other three cases are in central Newfoundland. All are contacts from a previous case.

Newfoundland and Labrador also scored 14 new recoveries on Friday. There are now 62 active cases in Newfoundland and Labrador, the first time in about two and a half weeks that the number of cases in the province has increased. Four people are hospitalized.

Friday’s press conference comes the same day the province’s vaccination passport goes into effect, requiring anyone visiting non-essential businesses or using non-essential services to be fully vaccinated or be granted medical exemption.

Vaccine surge

Fitzgerald said public health is advising against non-essential travel from the Burin Peninsula to other parts of the province until the extent of the outbreak is determined.

She said vaccination rates for the Burin Peninsula are “good enough” for people over 50, but are lower in younger age groups. Only 67% of people in their 20s in the region are fully vaccinated, she said.

“We need all eligible young adults across the province to receive the COVID vaccine, to protect you, your family and those who cannot be vaccinated, such as children under 12,” said Fitzgerald.

“Clinics are available across the province, so take the time to get vaccinated. “

Fitzgerald said about 83% of the eligible population on the Burin Peninsula is fully vaccinated, with about 97% of those 70 years old having received two injections. About 78 percent of people aged 12 to 19 are fully immunized.

Fitzgerald said the province is considering using rapid tests for schools, but added that it needs to be careful when using rapid tests for asymptomatic people may not give “the best bang for the buck.”

“But definitely looking at how we use it in symptomatic people,” she said.

“I don’t know if it would have made a difference in this case. It’s still very early in the investigation, but I know the initial case we learned about it very quickly. “

Read more about CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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