All NL goes to Alert Level 3 as province adds 60 new COVID-19 cases


Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald on Wednesday announced 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

All of Newfoundland and Labrador goes to Alert Level 3 as of midnight, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the province continues to skyrocket.

At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Janice Fitzgerald reported that 60 new cases of the virus had been discovered since Tuesday’s update – all under investigation.

It is tied for the second most new cases the province has seen in a single day and brings the province’s active case count from 30 to 223 in just one week.

This is the highest number of active cases in Newfoundland and Labrador since mid-February.

Fitzgerald said 37 of the new cases are in Eastern Health Region, 10 in Central Health Region, 12 in Western Region and one in Labrador-Grenfell Health Region.

There are now active outbreaks in the western, central and eastern parts of the island, Fitzgerald said, noting that health officials predict the numbers will continue to rise given the infectivity of the Omicron variant.

“Our fear is that if we start to see serious illnesses it will overwhelm our health system which is already overburdened,” she said.

“We are withdrawing healthcare staff from other areas to work on the COVID response, and we cannot risk an increase in hospitalizations. “

Watch the full update from December 22:

There have been 12 new healings and no one is hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Testing in all regions is intensifying and 3,458 swabs have been taken in the past 24 hours.

Fitzgerald said the government’s continued response to a nearly two-year pandemic has not been for nothing.

“The last thing we want is for people to think that the work we have done over the past two years is wasted. We have enjoyed a largely favorable epidemiology and very few restrictions on d ‘other jurisdictions,’ Fitzgerald said.

“But more importantly, we’ve saved lives. Today we have to face things as they are, not as we want them to be. We will reassess where we are on January 10 to determine if we can change the alert level. “

Closure of bars and concert halls

The move to Alert Level 3 means that public health restrictions are tightening.

The restrictions close bars, cinemas, bingo halls and performance venues across the province a day before Tibb’s Eve, which tends to draw large crowds to drinking places in Newfoundland and Labrador. -Labrador.

They are also reducing restaurant capacity and strengthening the “regular 20” rule, which limits family contact to a maximum of 20 people outside the household.

“None of us want to break this news. We believe now is the right time to introduce these measures to hopefully protect the economy in the long term. There may be some difficulties in the short term,” said Premier Andrew Furey.

“Now is not the perfect time, but COVID doesn’t know it’s Tibb’s Eve or Christmas Day.”

Below Alert Level 3, visitor restrictions are in place at nursing homes, but shopping malls and businesses can remain open at full capacity.

Watch | Dr. Janice Fitzgerald urges residents not to be discouraged

Residents’ sacrifices are not in vain, Newfoundland health official says

Newfoundland and Labrador Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has urged residents not to be put off by the new health restrictions. She said two years of hard work saved many lives during the pandemic. 1:00

Funerals, burials and religious ceremonies are limited to 100 people, or 50% of the venue’s capacity, whichever is less. Alarm clocks are prohibited.

Fitness centers, swimming pools and yoga studios are limited to 100 people at a time, or 50% of the capacity per room.

Sports organizations are limited to training and not competing, and it is recommended that you work from home whenever possible.

When it comes to travel around the province to celebrate the holidays, Fitzgerald reminded the public to keep contacts low and consider whether or not travel is essential.

“You should not go to another region of the province to party with people who are not in your loved one, consistent 20 [household contacts],” she said.

“The more movements of people we have in the province, the more the virus will eventually spread. “

MUN, CNA starting winter semester online

Following the briefing, Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic announced they would delay the start of the winter semester – and move classes online.

The semester will now begin on January 10, four days later than planned, and most of the teaching will be done online until January 31.

The CNA semester will also begin on January 10, with e-learning in place until January 21. Students will receive their start dates as soon as they are confirmed, the college said.

In a statement published in the MUN’s Gazette, the university’s academic vice-president, Florentine Strzelczyk, said they had made the decision to allow employees and students returning from vacation trips to have time to isolate themselves.

Memorial University is delaying the start of its winter semester to January 10 to allow students and staff returning from vacation time to isolate themselves. (Jeremy Eaton / CBC)

Campus gatherings scheduled before Jan. 10 are on hold, but in-person classes at MUN and CNA involving labs, fine and performing arts programs, and internships will be held in person.

The university’s Marine Institute will open on January 4, while the university buildings on the St. John’s and Grenfell campuses will open on January 5.

Strzelczyk said they plan to return the students to campus on Jan.31, but that will depend on risk assessments and public health advice.

Supports are available for students and staff as needed.

Omicron Spread

Dr. Monika Dutt, medical officer of health for central and western Newfoundland, told CBC radio Newfoundland morning On Wednesday, cases of Omicron begin to be found on the island’s west coast.

“We’re still at the very beginning of our investigation there,” Dutt said.

“We started to see a small number in western Newfoundland.”

Western Health will be adding additional vaccine booster clinics until the end of December. About 2,000 more appointment slots have been added for next week, with 2,000 appointments already booked for the last two weeks of the year.

Darla King, regional director of community health for Western Health, advises the public to monitor the provincial government’s vaccine booking website as appointments become available.

Premier Andrew Furey has said all of Newfoundland and Labrador will go to Alert Level 3 starting at midnight. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Health Minister John Haggie echoed what King said for other health regions in the province.

Haggie said 107,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine had been sent to regional health authorities in the province on Tuesday afternoon. He said there were about 270,000 people eligible for a booster before the New Year and early in 2022. The province has 214,000 doses ready, and Haggie said another 100,000 will arrive over the next week. .

Possible exposure notices continue to flow across the province. One, issued by the Department of Health, is for passengers and crew who traveled on the Labrador Marine Ferry which left Blanc Sablon for Sainte-Barbe last Friday at 6 p.m. .

Later Wednesday, Labrador-Grenfell Health posted an advisory for:

  • Walmart, 500 Vanier Avenue, Labrador City, Monday between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
  • The Well Bean Cafe, 222 Amherst Avenue, Labrador City, Mondays from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

Anyone who was inside either location during the mentioned hours should request a test.

Exposure advisories have also been issued in the Eastern Health Region:

  • The Newfoundland Distillery, 14 Conception Bay Highway, Clarke’s Beach December 17 from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Kelly’s Landing, Water Street, Bay Roberts December 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The Seaside Lounge, 307-309 Conception Bay Highway, Spaniard’s Bay December 17th from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Winners Circle pub and restaurant, 325 Conception Bay Road, Spaniard’s Bay on Dec. 17 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Le Chalet Sports Bar, 271-275 Crane’s Road, Upper Island Cove on Dec. 17 from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
  • Spiderman: No way home 3D Movie Cinema 6, Cineplex at Avalon Mall, December 17, 10 p.m.
  • Spiderman: No way home 3D Cinema Movie 6, Cineplex at Avalon Mall on December 19 at 9:30 p.m.

The Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador issued its own notice on Wednesday morning, indicating that St. John’s Provincial Court was closing for the day due to probable exposure to COVID-19.

All cases scheduled for Wednesday will be called at the same time on Thursday, and public health will contact anyone who may have been exposed for further assessment.

Holiday calendar

The Health Department says there will be no COVID-19 update over the weekend, while on Monday and Tuesday they will post numbers on their twitter account. A press release on the latest COVID-19 data is expected again on Wednesday.

If circumstances change significantly, the health ministry said advisories would be issued and they would possibly hold a briefing if necessary.

As of Tuesday’s update, the province had 175 active cases of COVID-19 and no one was in hospital.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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