Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. records 1st new case of COVID-19 in 43 days

The case involves a man in his 50s, in the Eastern Health region, recently returned from the United States. It's the first case recorded in Newfoundland and Labrador in six weeks.

1st new case since May 28

This is a COVID-19 test in Toronto. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador has a new case of COVID-19, ending a streak of 42 consecutive days of no new cases, and halting the province's status of being free of coronavirus.

The new case is travel-related, the government said Friday. 

The new case involves a man, between the ages of 50 and 59, who had recently returned from the United States. A resident of the province, he lives in the Eastern Health region. 

"While [en] route to Newfoundland and Labrador, the individual was not symptomatic nor considered infectious. The individual self-isolated upon return to the province as per public health guidelines," a statement from the Department of Health and Community Services said.

The individual did not travel through the Atlantic provinces while on his return trip back to the province, according to the government. 

Contact tracing is underway, says the health department. 

Because the man wasn't symptomatic on his return to the province, "the risk to the public is low at this time," said the statement. 

1st case in 6 weeks

Friday's new case marks the first one since May 28. 

It puts the province's caseload at 262. In total, 258 people have recovered from the virus, and there have been three deaths. 

To date, 19,970 people have been tested. That's an extra 164 in the last 24 hours. 

There is no scheduled in-person briefing by government officials on Friday, as the numbers related to COVID-19 are distributed via email on all days except Wednesday. 

Relaxed rules for visitors in hospital, care homes

Some of the province's health authorities announced a further easing of restrictions related to visitors on Friday.

As of July 13, Eastern Health and Western Health will green-light six designated visitors or support people for all inpatients in hospital, as well as residents of long-term care, personal-care homes and assisted living facilities. A maximum of two people can visit per day, and these two visitors can attend at the same time, when it comes to the non-hospital facilities.

Visiting hours will be left up to each facility to decide. All visitors must wear a mask, and will be screened for COVID-19, and will have to go directly to the designated visiting area. The guidelines for visitors for palliative care patients vary and people should check with the health-care provider.

Eastern Health and other health authorities are easing visitor restrictions. (CBC)

Obstetrics patients can have one support person who can stay for the entire time that the mother and baby are in the hospital. That person can visit as many times as they like throughout the day, according to the new guidelines. Four designated visitors are also allowed after delivery until the mother and baby leave the hospital.

Atlantic Bubble marks 1 week

Friday marked a week since the Atlantic bubble opened, allowing people to travel within Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island without self-isolating for 14 days. 

This week saw officials turn suggested guidelines into new rules when it comes to bars. 

Less than a week after crowds packed into some George Street clubs, the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation said it will crack down on bars that don't enforce physical distancing and capacity rules.

An amendment made late Wednesday afternoon to the chief medical officer of health's special measures order requires all bars in the province to operate at half of their approved capacity, provided physical distancing can be maintained.

Dance floors may not be used for dancing, but tables and chairs can be set up on the dance floor if there is at least two metres between seated patrons.

The order says it is the responsibility of the bar to ensure compliance with the order.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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