N.L. posts no new cases of COVID-19, as Nova Scotia opens border

·3 min read
Want to travel?  Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that people from Newfoundland and Labrador don't have to self-isolate upon arriving anymore. However, when returning home, provincial self-isolation guidelines still apply.  (Gary Locke/CBC - image credit)
Want to travel? Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that people from Newfoundland and Labrador don't have to self-isolate upon arriving anymore. However, when returning home, provincial self-isolation guidelines still apply. (Gary Locke/CBC - image credit)

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, marking five consecutive days without a case of the illness as the province's Atlantic neighbour opens its doors to domestic travellers.

There has been one new recovery since Monday's update, and 243 tests administered in the last 24 hours, according to a release from the Department of Health.

The province has three active cases: one each in the Eastern, Central and Western health regions. Nobody is in hospital due to the virus.

Premier Andrew Furey's office confirmed Tuesday that the province will begin reporting vaccination updates on a daily, rather than weekly, basis, "in an effort to better reflect vaccine progress," according to a spokesperson. Most provinces were reporting how many vaccine shots were being administered on a daily basis, while N.L. was updating that figure every Wednesday.

Data provided by Furey's office show that since December, Newfoundland and Labrador has received 129,060 total doses of vaccine as of Sunday, and administered 88,397, or just over two-thirds, of those doses so far.

Delivery volumes have risen dramatically in the past week, those data show, with about a third of total shots — 43,780 doses — arriving since the end of March. The portions of those shipments are split nearly evenly between Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford formulations, with 6800 Moderna shots also included.

The 20,600 AstraZeneca shots that arrived recently, however, can't be currently used on people under 55 or over 65. Health authorities have opened impromptu clinics in recent days to distribute the vaccine to the eligible age group.

In the Western Health region this week, residents between 55 and 64 can avail of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine clinics, that health authority said in a release Tuesday.

The clinics run Wednesday and Thursday in Corner Brook and Stephenville. People need to book an appointment and can find out more details here

Atlantic Canada roundup

Nova Scotia announced a change on Tuesday when it comes to free travel across its border. All residents of Atlantic Canada can visit the province without having to self-isolate upon arriving and without having to complete a provincial check-in form. However, a person returning home to Newfoundland and Labrador would have to self-isolate as per the existing provincial guidelines.

Here's where the three Atlantic provinces stand when it comes to active case counts as of Tuesday:

  • 32 in Nova Scotia.

  • 162 in New Brunswick.

The tentative reopening of the Atlantic bubble is less than two weeks away, but the April 19 launch date is far from carved in stone. It depends on several things, including advice from all four chief medical officers of health in the provinces and epidemiology, including variants of concern.

The bubble would allow all residents of Atlantic Canada to travel freely between all provinces without having to self-isolate. It operated from July to November last year.

ER potential exposure

CBC News asked Eastern Health on Tuesday if there were any updates to the potential COVID-19 exposure that occurred in a St. John's emergency room last week, including any further test results. A spokesperson said she is looking into the request.

The incident, first reported by CBC News late Thursday afternoon, involved a patient who had the virus and visited the Health Sciences Centre three times in four days.

At the time, Eastern Health refused to tell CBC News specifically how many hospital staff were in quarantine and undergoing testing, only that it was less than 20.

The health authority said in a statement Monday afternoon that public health workers have completed contact tracing, with those identified as at risk asked to schedule a test.

All test results so far have returned negative, and the exposure did not affect hospital services, according to Eastern Health.

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