Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting six new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, as regional health authorities swing open the doors to vaccination clinics for residents over 30 years old.
Friday's cases are split three apiece between the Eastern Health and Western Health regions. Each Eastern case is related to travel within Canada, while on Newfoundland's west coast, one case is related to travel and two are contacts of previous cases, according to the provincial Department of Health.
The active case count ticked upward to 86 on Thursday. The department said in a media release there were two recoveries, both in Eastern Health. One person is hospital due to COVID-19.
Vaccine eligibility has changed three times this week, including Friday's opening to people 30 and up. On Monday health authorities opened clinics to people over 50 as well as household members of rotational workers, truck drivers and flight crews. On Wednesday the age requirement was lowered to 40. On Monday, anyone over 12 will be eligible for a vaccine.
On Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald bumped a large portion of Newfoundland's southwest coast to Alert Level 4, increasing public health restrictions to contain an outbreak related to Belanger Memorial School in Upper Ferry, in the Codroy Valley. Testing efforts have ramped up in the area, and health officials have identified three cases in the school.
On Friday, the Health Department said there are now eight cases related to the outbreak in the Codroy Valley and Port aux Basques area, but said there is no indication of community transmission of COVID-19.
No further flight advisories
The Health Department also said Friday that due to new testing protocols, flight advisories related to COVID-19 cases will no longer be issued.
"In the event there is potential exposure on a flight, individuals will be contacted by officials to inform them if there are changes in their isolation or testing protocols," the Department of Health said in the release.
Under the new protocols, announced Wednesday, effective midnight Saturday, all travellers five years old and older will be tested according to their self-isolation arrangements, she said.
Asymptomatic travellers who can self-isolate are now required to be tested once near the end of their two weeks of isolation, on Day 11, 12 or 13.
Asymptomatic travellers who cannot isolate themselves are required to be tested twice during their two weeks in quarantine. Fitzgerald said the first test should happen upon arrival or within the first two days and again near the end of the isolation period.
According to the provincial government's COVID-19 data hub, 219,826 doses of vaccine had been administered as of Wednesday, with 43 per cent of the province's eligible population having received at least one dose. Another 34,080 doses are expected to arrive this week.