Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. adds 4 cases of COVID-19 to its tally, but Alert Level 1 is 'in sight'

Health officials preach vigilance ahead of the long weekend but offer a glimpse of hope for loosened restrictions on gatherings and travel in the months ahead.

The province has 72 active cases, and 2 people are in hospital

This summer will look very different, Newfoundland and Labrador's premier said Wednesday, but it's not clear yet how rising vaccination rates will change public health restrictions. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Newfoundland and Labrador added four cases to its COVID-19 total on Thursday, a day after the province announced it had vaccinated half of its eligible population.

There are two cases in the Eastern Health region. Both are men in their 50s who travelled within Canada. 

The third case in a man in Central Health in his 40s. The source of that case is under investigation. 

The fourth new case is a woman in Western Health between the ages of 29 and 39, a close contact of a previous case. 

There is one presumptive positive case awaiting confirmation. 

Ten people have recovered in the last day, leaving the province with 72 active cases. Two people are in hospital due to the virus.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has notified the province of COVID-19 outbreaks at two worksites in Alberta: Cenovus Christina Lake and Civeo McClelland Lake Lodge. Rotational workers returning to Newfoundland and Labrador from those sites must isolate themselves from family members for 14 days and arrange for COVID-19 testing. 

As of Wednesday, 50.4 per cent of the eligible population of Newfoundland and Labrador had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Reopening N.L. to rest of Canada still unclear

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald noted in Wednesday's briefing that the majority of the province's new cases are travellers, with limited spread to contacts. She said public health is treating all new cases as variants of concern.

A limited outbreak in the Codroy Valley area, which sent residents into Alert Level 4 restrictions, has been contained. The area moved back into Alert Level 2 on Thursday.

As caseloads decline across the country and vaccinations ramp up — nearly half of the Canadian population has rolled up their sleeves at least once for a dose — Fitzgerald offered a glimpse of hope on the horizon.

 Alert Level 1 — the lifting of public health restrictions and a return to normalcy — "is in sight," she said.

Twillingate is just one community where tourism operators face another summer of uncertainty. While vaccinations continue to rollout, it remains unclear when N.L. borders will reopen to the rest of Canada. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

It's not clear yet whether increasing vaccination would mean lifting quarantine restrictions and travel bans on incoming visitors.

The premier's advisory council on tourism released its final pitch Wednesday to convince the provincial government to reopen Newfoundland and Labrador's borders to the rest of Canada by July 1, providing travellers are vaccinated and can produce a negative COVID-19 test.

Premier Andrew Furey said Wednesday he's not yet ready to act on that recommendation.

"This summer will look very differently. As to what it will look like, we're still trying to sort that out," he said.

Health officials warned people to keep Victoria Day gatherings small and remain wary about relaxing vigilance. Another outbreak and consequent lockdown, warned Furey, remains possible should the virus spiral out of control.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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