Coronavirus: N.L. government to provide $500K to address food insecurity

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador is providing $500,000 to Food First NL to help those in the province experiencing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

That includes $275,000 from the Labour Market Partnerships program, funded under the Canada-NL Labour Market Development Agreement, to support community food providers in addressing staffing issues.

Food First NL and the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development are co-chairing a task group which will work to address how to best support community food programs to help ensure staff, volunteers and clients of their services are safe and taking proper COVID-19 precautions as they distribute food in the community.

The province says they are constantly working to find new ways to support residents as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow

As of Thursday the number of positive COVID-19 case in the province was 82.

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After the number of positive cases increased from Wednesday by 15, Health Minister Dr. John Haggie said that the province is now able to confirm positive tests at home.

“The ability to confirm a test as positive is a quality assurance issue. The national microbiological laboratory required 50 tests to be determined and compared,” Haggie explained at a provincial update on Thursday.

“We have passed that landmark with both negatives and unfortunately positives.”

Dr. Haggie says their own lab in St. John’s is staffed 24/7 and there is capacity to do more tests then the number they are currently receiving. He says specimens are tested twice, six hours apart.

“The main determinant of the turnaround in actual fact is how long it takes the specimen to get to the laboratory given our rather dispersed geography,” said Haggie.

The province is set to provide another update Friday at 2:30 p.m. NDT/2:00 p.m. A.T. The update will be streamed live on the province’s Facebook page.

The majority of the cases in the province are connected to Caul’s Funeral Home in St. John’s, which was visited by someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 earlier this month.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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