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Newfoundland and Labrador reports three new COVID-19 cases in the March 3 provincial update

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald answers a reporter's question during Wednesday's provincial COVID-19 briefing. — YouTube screengrab
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald answers a reporter's question during Wednesday's provincial COVID-19 briefing. — YouTube screengrab

Combined with 57 recoveries, it means N.L. has 149 actives cases; change in vaccine policy means more people will get first shots by end of March

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Wednesday is a positive news day on the COVID-19 front in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to those participating in today’s provincial update on the coronavirus.

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Chief Medical Health Officer, reported three new confirmed COVID cases — all close contacts of previous cases — and 57 recoveries, the most ever in a single day. That drops the province’s number of active cases to 149.



Because other new confirmed positive tests announced in the last few days were also linked to previously identified cases, Fitzgerald said it is a sign the province is “headed in the right direction” when it comes to successfully dealing with the outbreak that hit the metro St. John’s region a month ago. Perhaps another indication, she said, is that daily testing numbers are lower, a signal fewer and fewer people are being identified — or identifying themselves — as contacts of known cases and/or aren’t symptomatic.

In addition to the daily numbers, Fitzgerald also revealed a change in Newfoundland and Labrador’s vaccination policy, whereby more people will receive their first vaccine doses faster.

Fitzgerald says that is because evolving medical evidence demonstrates the first dose provides protection for a longer period of time. This, as well as the province’s limited vaccine supply, means a decision has been made to extend the interval between the first and necessary second doses to four months. This, she says will lead to an additional 40,000 people being vaccinated before the end of March — or about double the previous expectation.

How this might change the vaccination priority policy hasn’t been determined. Fitzgerald noted there are a total of 76,000 people who meet the criteria for Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout, currently underway, with 46,000 of those — or about 60 per cent — having already pre-registered for their first shot.

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