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‘Tsunami just out there.’ Dire warning about COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer issued a dire warning Thursday about COVID-19, likening the surge in cases across the country to a tidal wave headed toward the province.

Janice Fitzgerald said there is no evidence of community spread in the province, but she insisted that could change quickly if residents continue to show complacency about health protocols.

“There’s a tsunami just out there off our shores and, I’m telling you, it’s just waiting to crash down on us,” she told a news conference in St. John’s.

“We cannot keep it at bay with travel restrictions or quarantines – it’s going to take all of us doing our part to keep things safe.”

Fitzgerald confirmed the province had recorded one new case of COVID-19 on Thursday, a man in his 70s who lives in eastern Newfoundland.

She said that case, which brings the province’s total to 308 since the pandemic began, was related to an earlier infection, but she did not disclose further details.

As well, Fitzgerald warned residents of Grand Bank, N.L., not to be alarmed by the fact that a new COVID-19 case had been confirmed Wednesday at a local retirement home.

“(But) this should be a stark reminder that COVID can raise its head at any time and in any place,” she said.

“We have seen recent outbreaks and community spread within the Atlantic bubble and in Nunavut, areas that have been doing remarkably well like ourselves. There, but for the grace of the COVID gods, go us.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister John Haggie said he was particularly concerned by the spread of rumours on social media regarding infections in Grand Bank.

Haggie said so-called “keyboard warriors” are spreading agitation, confusion and fear in the community.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2020

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