Stephen: Provincial gov’t announces 46 new cases, new public health restrictions, updated booster schedule

Published on December 17th, 2021 @ 2:46 PM


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There are 46 new cases of COVID-19 in NL today. 11 are in Eastern Health, 4 in Central Health, and 31 are in Western Health. That makes 76 active cases in Newfoundland and Labrador today.

In the provincial government’s COVID-19 update today, Premier Andrew Furey began by saying that this is not a lockdown, although adjustments to public health restrictions must be made to combat the omicron variant.

  • Anyone identified as a high risk contact according to vaccination status must self-isolate for 7 days
  • Travel for sport and recreational activities, as well as tournaments, are not permitted. Events and games in a geographic region are still permitted.
  • New guidelines will go into effect Monday Dec 20 at 12:01am
    • Weddings, funerals, burials, and other religious and cultural gatherings are limited to 50% venue capacity for venues with the vax pass, 25% for non vaxpass
    • Bars and lounges limited to 50% capacity with physical distancing, restaurants 75% with distancing
    • People are encouraged to work from home
    • No changes to informal gatherings or school restrictions at this time

Premier Furey and Deputy Premier Siobhan Coady shared that 99.4% of government employees have been vaccinated, and 97-98% of school and health care employees have also been fully vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccination booster schedule has been updated. Anyone 18 and older can now seek a third booster shot of the vaccine at 22 weeks after their completed schedule of two shots.

 

Public advisory:

Today (Friday, December 17), Newfoundland and Labrador has 46 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the last public advisory. Contact tracing by Public Health is underway and anyone considered a close contact has been advised regarding quarantine according to current guidelines.

 

In the Eastern Health region:

 

  • One under 20 years of age;
  • Six between 20-39 years of age;
  • One between 40-49 years of age;
  • Two between 50-59 years of age; and
  • One between 60-69 years of age.

 

There are two females and nine males. Two are contacts of previously known cases, eight are travel related and one is under investigation.

 

In the Central Health region:

 

  • Two between 20-39 years of age; and
  • Two between 40-49 years of age.

 

There are two females and two males and all four are under investigation.

 

In the Western Health region:

 

  • Sixteen under 20 years of age;
  • Ten between 20-39 years of age;
  • Three between 40-49 years of age; and
  • Two between 50-59 years of age.

 

There are 16 females and 15 males. Twenty are contacts of previously known cases and 11 are under investigation.

 

There have been four new recoveries – three in the Eastern Health region and one in the Western Health region, and 2,051 people have recovered. There is no one in hospital because of COVID-19.

 

There are currently 76 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. The regional breakdown of the active cases is as follows:

 

  • Eastern Health – 19
  • Central Health – 5
  • Labrador-Grenfell Health – 0
  • Western Health – 52

 

To date, 357,188 tests have been administered. People can check their COVID-19 test results online here.

 

As part of the ongoing investigations into recent cases, Public Health is asking anyone who visited several locations, listed on the COVID-19 website here, to arrange COVID-19 testing. To arrange testing, complete the online self-assessment and referral tool available here or call 811.

 

People who visited these locations and currently have symptoms of COVID-19 are required to isolate until 24 hours after their symptoms resolve and they receive a negative test result. People who visited these locations and do not currently have symptoms of COVID-19 are not required to isolate until they receive a negative test result. While awaiting their test result, they should monitor for symptoms and isolate should any symptoms develop.

 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

 

  • Fever, including chills or sweats;
  • A new or worsening cough;
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
  • Runny, stuffy or congested nose;
  • Sore throat or difficulty swallowing;
  • Headache;
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste;
  • Unusual fatigue or lack of energy;
  • New onset of muscle aches;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours; and,
  • Small red or purple spots on hands and/or feet.

 

Anyone in the province, regardless of their vaccination status, should get tested if they are experiencing even just one of the symptoms of COVID-19 listed above. Do not assume it is just a cold. There has been community spread and outbreaks across the country because people were mildly symptomatic and did not get tested or limit their activity. It is essential to find any cases of COVID-19, so that Public Health can do their job effectively and contain the spread of the virus as much as possible.

 

Wearing a non-medical face mask that covers the nose and mouth is required in public indoor settings for everyone ages 5 and over. Information on the Public Health guidance on masks can be found at www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/public-health-guidance/guidance/masks/.

 

All travelers coming to Newfoundland and Labrador, including Newfoundland and Labrador residents, are required to fill out a travel form found here. The travel form can be completed up to 30 days prior to the travel date. Please submit proof of your COVID-19 vaccination by uploading it to your form. Anyone partially vaccinated will now have the same requirements as unvaccinated travelers. Further information for those travelling to the province, including isolation and testing requirements, can be found here.

 

Anyone returning, or who has returned, from post-secondary institutions elsewhere in Canada or internationally will be required to have a PCR test upon arrival to the province. These student travellers can book a PCR test through the online assessment and referral tool on the COVID website. If these travellers opt not to be tested, they will need to isolate for 14 days. In the coming days we will provide all incoming travellers with a package of take-home rapid test kits to screen for COVID-19. Unvaccinated travellers will still be required to quarantine and test as they have previously.

 

The Provincial Government has also put extra precautions in place for those who are most vulnerable. A maximum of two people at a time will be permitted to visit their loved ones in long-term care or personal care homes. These can be different people for each visit.

 

Changes are being made to guidance for case and contact management. Anyone that has been identified as a close contact of a case and who is fully vaccinated must isolate for seven days. This is a temporary measure, recognizing that our province is in the early stages of dealing with the Omicron variant.

 

Effective midnight tonight, out-of-region individual and group travel for amateur sport, arts and recreation activities, such as competitions and training camps, is not permitted. Tournaments are also not permitted. Teams can continue to play within their geographic region as they would during the season. These measures are in an effort to avoid teams travelling outside their usual area, or any one-off events that bring together groups from different regions of the province.

 

The required interval for booster doses has been reduced to 22 weeks. This applies to everyone over the age of 18. The province is expecting increased vaccine supply and appointments will open up as soon as these are distributed to clinics, pharmacies, physicians and nurse practitioners.

 

Changes are also being made for businesses and gatherings that will take effect Monday, December 20 at 12:01 am:

 

  • Weddings, funerals, burials, religious and cultural ceremonies are limited to 50 per cent venue capacity, where NLVaxx Pass is in place and 25 per cent capacity where NLVaxx Pass is not in place.
  • Spectators and attendees at fitness facilities, arenas, performance spaces, cinemas, and bingo halls are limited to 50 per cent venue capacity.
  • Bars and lounges are limited to 50 per cent capacity with physical distancing.
  • Restaurants are limited to 75 per cent capacity with physical distancing.
  • Employees are also encouraged to work from home where possible.
  • There are no changes to informal gatherings such as those in a home. These remain limited to a maximum of 25 people.

 

The most up to date vaccine data and the number of vaccine doses administered is on the provincial COVID-19 data hub. Information on COVID-19 vaccines for Newfoundland and Labrador is available online here. Additional information on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout is on the websites for each of the regional health authorities:

 

Eastern Health
Central Health
Western Health
Labrador-Grenfell Health

 

Please continue following the proven Public Health measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. People are encouraged to download COVID Alert to help reduce the spread of the virus. It is available free through the Apple or Google Play app stores.

For the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19, please visit www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19.

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