There are 10 new cases of COVID-19 repotted in Newfoundland and Labrador on Wednesday, with the majority linked to travel and the remainder from close contact with previous cases, according to the top doctor in the province.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Janice Fitzgerald also reported six more recoveries, leaving the province with 81 active cases as of Wednesday’s pandemic update.A worrying increase in cases at Belanger Memorial School in Upper Ferry, in the Codroy Valley on the west coast of Newfoundland, prompted Fitzgerald to introduce new health restrictions for southwestern Newfoundland.
As travel continues to bring in new cases, she said, the virus has spread outside domestic bubbles, including in the Upper Ferry case.
“We now have three known cases associated with a school in the Codroy Valley area, and Western Health encourages anyone in the area to get tested for COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not,” he said. she declared.
“Although we have no evidence that there is widespread community transmission in the area, there has been a clear spread among contacts. “
In view of this fact and the fact that these cases are variants of the coronavirus, Fitzgerald issued a Special Measures Order to relocate communities from South Branch to Port aux Basques, including the Codroy Valley and Rose Blanche-Harbor le Cou , at alert level 4, from midnight.
Fitzgerald said the move would give public health the opportunity to investigate and conduct community-wide testing in the region, while reducing the risk of the virus spreading. She said the decision would be reviewed in a week.
Meanwhile, across the province, one person is in hospital with the virus, and 137,037 people have been tested so far.
New test requirements
Fitzgerald also introduced new testing requirements for travelers to “improve surveillance” and combat the spread of COVID-19.
Beginning at midnight Saturday, all travelers aged five and older will be tested based on their self-isolation arrangements, Fitzgerald said.
Asymptomatic travelers who can self-isolate should now be tested once near the end of their two-week isolation, on days 11, 12 or 13.
Watch the full update from May 12:
“Completely isolating yourself from others means staying in a separate accommodation or a completely separate area of the house with a separate bedroom and bathroom and no contact with anyone in the accommodation,” Fitzgerald said.
Asymptomatic travelers who cannot isolate themselves from others should be tested twice during their two-week quarantine. Fitzgerald said the first test should take place on arrival or within the first two days and again near the end of the isolation period.
This applies to travelers who isolate themselves in a house where other people live and where there is no separate bedroom or bathroom. In these cases, the whole household needs to self-isolate, Fitzgerald said.
There will be an option where travelers can receive a COVID-19 test during days 7, 8 or 9 of their quarantine period, and on day 7 or later household members can also request a test.
Health Minister John Haggie said on Wednesday that while the majority of the province’s new cases are travel-related, they come from people who have to travel, which he says are following Fitzgerald’s guidelines.
“I think it’s up to all of us, however, to keep doing it because the end is in sight,” he said.
The new testing protocol does not extend to shift workers from sites unrelated to the outbreak.
“Currently, our risk remains high as other jurisdictions in Canada continue to experience significant community spread,” said Fitzgerald.
“Most, if not all, provinces are starting to see a reduction in new confirmed cases, which indicates that things are moving in the right direction. We anticipate that we will continue to see a steady influx of travel cases in the years to come. weeks and we must all remain vigilant. ”
Vaccine deployment moves to phase 3
A bright spot in Wednesday’s briefing came with Fitzgerald’s announcement that all regional health authorities across the province have shifted their immunization efforts to Phase 3 of the deployment.
This phase will include anyone over the age of 12 who is clinically vulnerable to the virus, as well as anyone over the age of 40. Prime Minister Andrew Furey, 45, said on Wednesday he was happy to be able to reserve his first shot.
Fitzgerald said eligibility would be extended on Friday to anyone over the age of 30.
On Monday, the rest of the eligible population – people 12 and older – can make an appointment for a vaccine.
More than 200,000 people have now received at least their first dose of the vaccine. Fitzgerald said 100,000 of them had been administered in the past month and that by the end of June the entire eligible population would have been offered at least one dose.
“In the coming months, we should start to see a shift in the balance in our favor as more people in our country and province are vaccinated and protected against COVID-19,” Fitzgerald said.
Haggie said there were 34,000 doses in inventory, which will allow the province to pass the end of the week. Another 34,000 doses are expected to arrive by the end of the week.
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