N.L. records first COVID-19 death

Newfoundland and Labrador has had its first death due to COVID-19.

The patient — a retired man in the Eastern Health region — died Sunday, about three days after being hospitalized. Sources tell CBC News his condition deteriorated quickly.

His death comes 15 days after the province recorded its first case of COVID-19.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Community Services confirmed Monday the death was related to COVID-19.

In the last week, cases escalated. As of the numbers reported Sunday, 135 people had been infected, and seven people had been hospitalized. 

Newfoundland and Labrador has the second highest rate of infection per capita in Canada.

The death toll across the country has now risen to 67 nationwide, with the largest concentrations in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

More details on the spread of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador are expected to be revealed Monday afternoon as Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Premier Dwight Ball and Health Minister John Haggie address the public at 2:30 p.m. NT. 

The briefings have become a daily occurrence as the provincial government, like others across the country, updates the total number of COVID-19 cases and any other developments related to it. 

This past weekend saw two significant developments.

The first instances of what’s called community transmission were confirmed. On Saturday, Fitzgerald said the cases were in the Central Health region and the Labrador-Grenfell Health region. Community transmission relates to cases where public health staff cannot connect the infection to another proven case.   

Fitzgerald said this development was expected, and stressed staying indoors to limit the spread of the disease.

Some 2,107 tests for COVID-19 had been completed by Sunday. 

Four people in the province had recovered from the virus as of Sunday.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador