5 COVID-19 deaths in N.L., while hospitalizations plunge to 3, with no one in critical care

Newfoundland and Labrador reported five more deaths due to COVID-19 on Wednesday.  (David Horemans/CBC - image credit)
Newfoundland and Labrador reported five more deaths due to COVID-19 on Wednesday. (David Horemans/CBC - image credit)
David Horemans/CBC
David Horemans/CBC

Five more people in Newfoundland and Labrador have died due to COVID-19.

According to the provincial Health Department's weekly pandemic update, three of the deaths were people who were 80 years old or older, one was a person was in their 70s, and one was a person in their 50s.

Two were in the Eastern Health region, two were in the Central Health region and one was in the Western Health region. The province's total number of deaths since the pandemic hit in March 2020 is now 234.

Hospitalizations have dropped steeply to three, down from 11 a week ago and the lowest total since mid-July. There is no one in critical care.

The province also reported 154 new cases over the last week: 38 on Thursday, 20 on Friday, 36 on Saturday, 16 on Sunday, eight on Monday, 26 on Tuesday and 10 on Wednesday.

However, that data does not represent the true spread of COVID-19 since the province has restricted PCR testing and reports only positive tests that were administered by the regional health authorities.

With school restarted in the K-12 system and at the post-secondary levels this week, officials have warned there may be another spike in COVID-19 cases as the weather cools off, and people move indoors and congregate in large settings such as schools and classrooms.

In July, during a COVID briefing about the expansion of second booster shots, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said Public Health are preparing for an expected surge in cases this fall.

WATCH: MUN virologist Rod Russell talks about a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine

New vaccine 

On Thursday, Health Canada approved Moderna's new COVID-19 vaccin, which targets the Omicron variant specifically. Canada is expected to receive about 12 million doses.

Omicron has become the dominant strain of the virus, even mutating into its own variants.

Virologist Rod Russell said Wednesday he's hopeful that with a better match the new vaccine will give a longer duration of protection from infection.

"There's no guarantee. At this point we don't know that. What we do know is your protection from severe disease is longer term so there's still benefit from getting either booster," he said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador