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New COVID-19 case in Newfoundland and Labrador related to TV shoot

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

The Telegram

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Two days after becoming COVID-19 free, Newfoundland and Labrador has a new confirmed case of the disease.

Officials announced Friday that a woman under the age of 40 tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in St. John’s on Thursday on a direct flight from Toronto. The woman is not a resident, but was granted an exemption to travel to the province.

She is self-isolating and was not experiencing symptoms on the flight.

Nonetheless, the Department of Health and Community Services is asking people who travelled on Air Canada Flight AC690 departing Toronto for St. John’s on Thursday to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms develop, people are advised to call 811 for appropriate follow-up.

Media reports Friday indicated the woman is a crew member of the TV show “Hudson and Rex,” which has been shooting scenes on Memorial University’s campus in St. John’s.

The university subsequently issued a statement saying there is no danger to anyone on campus.

"Please note that the individual has not been on campus since receiving the diagnosis,” the statement read. “We have been informed by the production company that the individual isolated upon return to St. John’s on an Aug. 6 flight, and has not been to the studio or any set location, or in contact with any other cast or crew.”

The company reportedly tests crew and cast members before and after they fly to the province.

The province has had four other cases of the disease in the past month, all related to travel or direct contacts of a traveller. The last of them recovered this week.

Public health workers are tracing contacts of this new case, and anyone considered a contact will be advised to self-isolate.

Health officials have repeatedly said they expect new cases to crop up occasionally, and they don't expect to alter strategies because of them.

To date, almost 26,500 people have been tested in the province for the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie cited Friday’s case to renew his call for regular testing to be conducted at points of entry.

“The excuse that we cannot use COVID-19 testing as an additional level of protection like other jurisdictions such as Iceland or New Zealand is mystifying,” Crosbie said in a statement. “We have limited points of entry for the virus, let’s use our geography to our advantage and keep the people of Newfoundland and Labrador safe.”

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