‘The timing couldn’t be worse’: 27 new cases of COVID-19 in Netherlands as Omicron impact spreads


People line up for a COVID-19 booster shot at a Shoppers Drug Mart on Lemarchant Road in St. John’s, NL (Ted Dillon / CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday as people scramble to get their next protection from the virus.

Thirteen of the new cases are located in the Western Newfoundland health region, including six people under the age of 20, according to a statement from the Department of Health Monday afternoon. Nine cases are contacts of previous cases, while four are under investigation.

There are 10 cases in the Central health region, all contacts of previous cases.

Four cases are reported in the eastern health region. Two are contacts of previous cases and two cases are under investigation.

With no new recoveries to report, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Newfoundland and Labrador stands at 154. There are 67 cases in Western Health Region, 47 in Western Health Region. Central Health Region, 39 in Eastern Health Region and one in Labrador-Grenfell Health Region. Health region.

No one is hospitalized with COVID-19 and a total of 362,655 tests were performed, 1,478 more than Sunday.

Long lines to boost

On Monday, a walk-in clinic at a pharmacy inside Shoppers Drug Mart on Lemarchant Road in St. John’s saw dozens of people hoping to receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster. The province moved the wait times for a booster to 22 weeks after receiving a second dose of the vaccination on Friday. This is a reduction of about four weeks from the previous six months of waiting.

In central Newfoundland, the pandemic is once again raising its ugly head, and Gander Mayor Percy Farwell is reminding residents to follow public health rules.

“The timing couldn’t be worse, obviously. No one is looking forward to imposing restrictions on this time of year,” Farwell told CBC News on Sunday, shortly after another unexpected COVID-19 briefing provincial government and health officials.

Authorities reported 61 new cases on Sunday, including nine confirmed to be the Omicron variant and 34 others suspected to be the fast-spreading variant. More than half of these new cases are in central Newfoundland.

Badger, Twillingate, Gander and Grand Falls Windsor are now on Alert Level 3, while the rest of the province is on Alert Level 2.

As a result, health officials have reduced the capacity of most public spaces in communities in central Newfoundland to 50%, while bars, bingo halls and theaters are closed. Grand Falls-Windsor closed municipal buildings and depots to the public. The YMCA, Corduroy Brook Building, Heritage Society, Ski Lodge and Arenas remain open with restrictions.

“It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough for some of the businesses that are counting on a little boom this Christmas,” Farwell said. “At the end of the day, public health must come first. “

It is also not recommended to travel inside or outside the region.

Gander Mayor Percy Farwell said capacity restrictions would be difficult for businesses, but it is a necessary measure to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Garrett Barry / CBC)

Farwell said as the weekend approached – ahead of Sunday’s unscheduled briefing – people there were already feeling a little worried as cases of COVID-19 continued to rise in the province.

Farwell said the number of cases is not something to be “terrified” of, but is the reality of the coronavirus spreading exponentially, and something that needs to be addressed.

“Public health officials are asking us to take quick action again. It worked before when we had clusters in other areas,” he said.

“I think the thing is, right now, the timing is so bad.”

Meanwhile, the health ministry is pushing people to get tested even if they only have one symptom.

Public health is running a number of COVID-19 testing clinics for area residents.

Clinics include:

  • Fraser Road United Church, Gander, Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Salvation Army Church, 27 Park Street, Grand Falls-Windsor, Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Twillingate United Church, Monday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Monday also marked the last day of classes for students in the province, the vacation break having been brought forward as a precaution. Schools opened on Monday to allow children to say goodbye to classmates and teachers and to gather their belongings in case they need to switch to e-learning in the new year.

“There is a level of uncertainty, but one thing we are certain of, whatever mode we have to operate in on January 4th, we will be ready,” the English school district president of Newfoundland said on Monday. -and Labrador, Tony Stack.

“We may have to make geographic decisions. There may be virtual schools, others not, it all depends on the circumstances.”

“The most unhappy”

Jeff Pope, owner of Third Place Cafe in Grand Falls-Windsor, told CBC News it’s been a busy time for his business, which relies on the holiday season to get through the winter.

With fears of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant and changing public health restrictions, Pope said he is already seeing a sharp drop in income since the change in alert level took effect.

“A lot of people don’t go out. They want to stay home, they’re very nervous,” Pope said.

“We have seen a lot of cancellations.”

Outside of central Newfoundland, restaurants and bars in other areas also face capacity restrictions taking effect in the middle of the peak holiday season.

Bars are reduced to 50% of their capacity, while restaurants will have to operate at 75%.

Lorne Loder, co-owner of Boca Tapas Bar and Cojones Tacos and Tequila in downtown St. John’s, said the news was not unexpected, but disappointing given the time of year.

“It was very unfortunate. It’s not what everyone wanted to hear,” Loder told CBC News on Saturday.

“The month of December and the Christmas season are very important to restaurants and many industries. So yes, that was disappointing to say the least.”

Todd Perrin, owner and chef of Mallard Cottage, says he hopes his business can survive the winter. (Gary Locke / CBC)

Todd Perrin, owner and chef of Mallard Cottage in St. John’s, agrees the timing of the news is not ideal. Under tougher public health restrictions, he said, the hospitality industry is still the hardest hit.

“The income we generate by the first week of January is the money we need to get through this winter,” Perrin said.

“We rely on the presence of people in our spaces. We can’t just switch to the Internet or work from home. This is not an option for our company. So it’s a sad fact of our business style that as and when it happens. tends to impact us in ways that don’t impact a lot of other things. “

Perrin and Loder say physical distance has been their main goal since the province returned to Alert Level 2 in June.

Loder said all of his staff were fully vaccinated, with some even receiving a booster shot. He said other precautions had been taken as well, so he’s hoping people don’t en masse cancel in the coming weeks.

Perrin agrees and said he hopes no further restrictions are put in place so that the holiday industry is not affected too much.

“We hope we get through the next few weeks with an operation as close to normal as possible and hopefully can last through the winter,” he said.

“If something happens to limit business in the next few weeks, then that’s really going to be a problem for a lot of people.… It will be hard to see our way into the spring.”

Eastern Health issued several exposure advisories in St. John’s throughout Monday. Places and dates include:

  • Fionn MacCool’s, 199 Kenmount Road, St. John’s December 17 between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to get tested. This does not include those who bought take out.
  • Konfusion, 391 Duckworth Street, St. John’s December 18 between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.
  • Restaurant No 4, 4 Cathedral Street, St. John’s December 14 from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
  • Merchant Tavern, 291 Water Street, St. John’s, December 14 from 3:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., December 15 from 3:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., December 16 from 3:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. and Dec. 17 from 3.30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Café Madras, 183 Duckworth Street, St. John’s December 17 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

There are also a number of new exposure advisories in the Western Health Region.

They include:

  • Connection Café, 8 Mount Bernard Avenue, Corner Brook on Dec. 3 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Best Coast Restaurant, 55 West St., Corner Brook December 10 from 6:45 to 9 p.m. and December 11 from 8:30 to 10 p.m.
  • Corner Brook Civic Center, 1 Canada Games Dr., during general skating on December 12 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Williams Building Supply, 68 Wights Rd., Deer Lake, December 14, 15, 16 and 17 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Forever Young Fitness Center, 1 Canada Games Dr., Corner Brook December 13 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart at Millbrook Mall in Corner Brook on December 17 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and December 18 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Subway, 52A Broadway, Corner Brook December 17 from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Public health is asking anyone who was in these places during these times to arrange for testing.

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