Nfld. & Labrador

5 new COVID-19 cases reported in N.L. as travellers face new testing requirements

Starting Saturday, all travellers into the province age five and up will be tested according to self-isolation requirements.

All new cases are travel related

Travellers returning to Newfoundland and Labrador will face new isolation testing protocols beginning Saturday. (Gary Locke/CBC)

As new testing rules come into effect across Newfoundland and Labrador, the province is reporting five new cases of COVID-19.

All five cases reported Saturday are related to domestic travel, with four of them located in the Eastern Health region. They include two men between 20 and 39 years old, a man in his 40s and a man in his 60s.

The fifth case is in the Central Health region, a man in his 60s who travelled within Canada.

There is also one new presumptive positive case in the Western Health region, which public health says is linked to a previously known case in the Codroy Valley and surrounding area.

There are now eight confirmed cases related to the Codroy Valley outbreak, including three connected to Belanger Memorial School in Upper Ferry. There is no evidence of widespread community transmission at this time, according to public health.

There are 13 new recoveries being reported across the province, the highest number seen in a single day since March 20. There are now 78 active cases in Newfoundland and Labrador, a drop of eight from Friday.

One person is in hospital due to COVID-19.

A total of 138,624 people have now been tested for the virus in Newfoundland and Labrador, including 587 in the past 24 hours.

New testing requirements for travellers

Starting Saturday, all travellers into the province age five or older will be tested according to self-isolation requirements. The announcement was made by Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald on Wednesday in an effort to "improve surveillance" and fight further COVID-19 spread.

Asymptomatic travellers who can isolate themselves fully from others are required to be tested once on Day 11, 12 or 13 of their two-week isolation period.

Fully self-isolating means staying in a separate dwelling or area of of the home from family or other house members, including using a separate bedroom and bathroom and having no contact with other people, according to public health.

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald announced the new testing protocols on Wednesday. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Asymptomatic travellers who are unable to fully self-isolate must now be tested twice — once within the first two days of their arrival and once on either Day 11, 12 or 13 of isolation. In cases where the person in isolation doesn't have their own bedroom or bathroom, Fitzgerald said the entire family must isolate themselves.

There will also be an option for travellers to seek testing on the seventh, eighth or ninth day of their isolation. Household members of the traveller can also seek testing after Day 7.

The new testing protocols don't apply to rotational workers coming from non-outbreak sites in Canada, or any traveller spending two days or less in the province.

The new rules also don't apply to permanent residents of communities on the Labrador-Quebec border who have not travelled across the border in the last 14 days.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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