With at least 35 cases of COVID-19 now in Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Dwight Ball is set to deliver another update on pandemic planning to residents this afternoon.
He’ll be joined in a press conference at 2:30 p.m. AST by Health Minister John Haggie and the chief medical officer of health, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald.
As of Sunday, there were four confirmed and 31 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the province, which remains under public health emergency. To date, 1,131 residents have been tested for the virus, 10,96 of whom obtained negative results.
Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited and two weeks of self-isolation is required both for domestic and international travellers entering Newfoundland and Labrador, with the exception of select essential services workers.
The province has suspended counter service in many its offices, established a help line for those in self-isolation, and created a public reporting form for those who wish to report concerns that someone isn’t following the COVID-19 rules.
Earlier this week, a woman in Corner Brook — a small city on the west coast of the island — was arrested for flouting self-isolation requirements under the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Police say the 53-year-old refused to stay at home after she returned from a trip outside the province is expected to make a court appearance today.
Const. James Cadigan said the province’s public reporting system has received more than 400 complaints from people reporting suspected contraventions of health directives. Officers, however, have been able to resolve 27 of them by contacting the person and educating them about the measures.
In the Corner Brook case the woman was not compliant and was held in a jail cell overnight. She may face a fine between $500 and $2,500 and a jail sentence of up to six months.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has also prompted politicians to hit the pause button on the campaign to replace Ball as leader of the N.L. Liberals — just days after the party declared it would continue online.
That comes in the wake of criticism from the political opposition, which said it was insensitive to residents during a pandemic to move forward with the campaign.
The party now says the suspension will be in effect until at least May 1, after which it will be determined whether the situation has improved enough to set a new date for the vote, to be conducted online and by phone.
Ball has said he’ll stay on as premier as long as is necessary to deal with the crisis.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
With files from The Canadian Press
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