N.L.’s newest COVID-19 case is a cast member of Hudson & Rex, says producer

There is one new case of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador, moving the province’s total caseload to 268.

According to a government press release, the new case is a male in the Eastern Health region between 20 and 39 years old.

The man is a close contact of the existing case reported Friday. That case involved a woman who had flown from Toronto to St. John’s as part of filming for the Hudson & Rex television series. 

In a statement to CBC News, producer Paul Pope said contact tracing determined a cast member of Hudson & Rex has tested positive for the virus. 

“This cast member was the only person who was in close contact with the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, August 7. This incident is contained and both individuals have been self-quarantining and will continue to do so for the full 14 days,” Pope said in the statement.

“Production will resume shooting today (Monday, August 10). The Hudson & Rex team is working closely with the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Health and Community Services and Health Canada to ensure all necessary steps are taken to keep everyone safe.”

The Department of Health said contact tracing is underway. Everyone considered a close contact is being advised to quarantine.

“As the individual was a close contact of the existing case, he has been self-isolating,” the department’s press release said.

In a further update, a spokesperson for Shaftesbury — the show’s production company — said no Hudson & Rex personnel are considered close contacts with Monday’s case.

“He has not travelled in any Hudson & Rex vehicle, been on set, or had any contact with any Hudson & Rex personnel since his exposure,” the statement reads.  

The province now has two active cases.

So far, 27,050 people have been tested for coronavirus since March, including 144 since Sunday. 

In total, 263 people have recovered. Three people have died from the virus. 

Friday’s active case was travel-related, and not from the province, but was granted an exemption to come to Newfoundland, according to the government. 

Pope confirmed CBC’s initial reporting last week that a person with the show tested positive for the virus, and said the case was found through regular private testing and all COVID-19 precautions on set were followed.

Hudson & Rex producer Paul Pope says all COVID-19 precautions have been followed since the woman who was diagnosed with the disease arrived from Ontario. (CBC)

“They have to pass a pre-screening [test] in Ontario, which they did,” Pope said. “They followed all the precautions on the airplane. Then, when they arrived in St. John’s, they were picked up by our transport, which has a divider, and [the crew member and driver] both wore masks.”

Since arriving from Ontario, Pope said, the woman has interacted with only three people: the driver of the vehicle, the medical professional who administered the test, and one other member of the crew.

The show is continuing to film in St. John’s. A portion of the Mundy Pond walking trail is closed until 9 p.m. Monday to accommodate filming.

The provincial government has asked anyone who travelled on Air Canada Flight AC690, which departed from Toronto for St. John’s on Aug. 6, to monitor themselves and call 811 if COVID-19 symptoms develop.

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