Health restrictions in an area of western Newfoundland are being relaxed, with the Department of Health moving the entire region from Alert Level 4 back to Alert Level 2 with the rest of the province.
The communities of St. George's, Stephenville Crossing, Stephenville, Port au Port East and all towns on the Port au Port Peninsula and towns and communities along routes 403, 460, 461, 462, 463 and 490 will have restrictions lifted as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday. The area was moved into Alert Level 4 because of a cluster of cases with an unidentified source. While the source has not been found, health officials say the risk to the public is low.
The province is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, one of them connected to the cluster in the Western Health region.
The case connected to the cluster is a man under 20 years old in western Newfoundland who is a contact of a previous case.
The other two cases are a man in his 70s in the Western Health region and a man in his 40s in the Central Health region, neither connected to clusters in those areas.
There were no new recoveries Friday. The province has 54 active cases and there is no one in hospital due to COVID-19.
To date, 152,909 people have been tested, including 582 since Thursday's update.
The Health Department said investigations have not yet found the source of either the central Newfoundland or western Newfoundland cluster. As of Friday there are 69 cases associated with the Central Health cluster — as well as two probable and one presumptive positive case — while 36 are associated with the Western Health cluster with an additional three presumptive positive cases.
The department says a case reported Wednesday in the Western Health region has been determined to be a contact of a previous case, while the investigation into a case reported June 3 in the Western Health region has concluded without finding a source. This is known as a non-epidemiologically linked case and indicates that there is, or was, an unidentified case of COVID-19. The media release notes the unidentified case may have been someone who was aysmptomatic and recovered, left the province, or did not seek testing.
COVID-19 testing for the Gander area extended into Friday as public health continues its investigation into a case connected with St. Paul's Intermediate School. In-class instruction resumed Friday, with some regular staff members as well as school board staff, said the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District.
"Public health has advised the district that there is no reason, from a public health perspective, to suspend in-class instruction at this time," an NLESD statement said. "The school is open. Staff members who have been cleared by public health to return to work are expected to report to the school."