1 new case of COVID-19 linked to travel to the Netherlands, as a new Atlantic bubble approaches

1 new case of COVID-19 linked to travel to the Netherlands, as a new Atlantic bubble approaches

Newfoundland and Labrador reported a new case of COVID-19 on Thursday, a man under 40 in the central health region.
This case is linked to a trip to Canada, according to a statement from the Department of Health.

The province has four active cases of the disease, the lowest number of cases of any province on the east coast.

Thursday marks a new month, and one in which the Atlantic bubble is expected to reopen.

The bubble allows people to travel freely in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island without having to isolate themselves. Last month, the Atlantic Premiers announced an interim opening date of April 19, as long as the outbreaks remain under control.

According to the latest figures available on Wednesday, the active cases are:

  • 141 in New Brunswick.
  • 24 in Nova Scotia.
  • 13 in Prince Edward Island

As of Wednesday, 205 people have been tested, for a total of 124,466, and health officials are still investigating the source of Wednesday’s new case.

The Department of Health is also warning rotating workers of three outbreaks in Alberta, a day after variant B1351 was confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador. Workers returning from Michels Canada, RCC Simonette Lodge or Tourmaline Oil Nabors sites must isolate themselves from household members for 14 days.

Bumpy week for vaccination plan

Dr Janice Fitzgerald said on Wednesday that 63,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered. Health Minister John Haggie had long touted that NL would meet its target of 80,000 doses by the end of March. He maintains it will always happen, although now with a few slight caveats – by April 4 and likely shy of around 1,000 shots.

There have been a few obstacles in the way of vaccinations this week. First, Newfoundland and Labrador has joined with other provinces in suspending the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in people under the age of 55, in accordance with changes to federal guidelines.

This change is due to data linking the vaccine to rare cases of blood clotting, called vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia, or VIPIT.

There have been no reports of this type of blood clotting in Canada. About 4,600 people have received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in Newfoundland and Labrador, and it can still be used in people over 55 years of age.

Despite the pause in this vaccine for a certain age group, strong interest remains. Shortly before 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Eastern Health announced that it had 210 doses that were due to be used by the end of the week, as they would expire. Anyone aged 55 to 64 can register for an appointment.

Shortly after 4 p.m., all these appointments had been filled.

Frustration has also swelled for some people this week, as callers encountered delays in trying to make appointments for a vaccine through Eastern Health phone lines. Haggie said additional staff had been added and they were divided to take a regionalised approach.

No COVID-19 updates will be released over Easter weekend, with a plan to return to regular updates on Monday. Briefings with the media have resumed being held once a week, usually on Wednesdays.

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