On the eve of Alert Level 2, N.L. reports no new COVID-19 cases

A day before public health officials relax widespread public health restrictions, Newfoundland and Labrador is again reporting no new cases of COVID-19.

In an update Friday, the Department of Health said the province has one active case in the Eastern Health region.

All health regions drop to Alert Level 2, effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, due to the sustained low caseload. That permits a higher level of interaction between people and allows all facilities and non-essential businesses to open, albeit with restrictions to limit crowding.

Households can also designate 20 close contacts.

The province’s chief medical officer of health has emphasized limiting interactions with anyone outside that group of contacts, however, and has asked the public to wear masks diligently.

Sports leagues are not yet permitted to host games and competitions between teams, however, and high school students will continue to attend class online, according to a Department of Education statement Thursday.

The provincial government also said in a release Friday it is easing restrictions on ferry services.

As of Saturday, all routes can carry 50 per cent of their regular capacities, and passengers must leave their vehicles — wearing masks and practicing physical distancing — during crossings. 

On Friday evening, Eastern Health announced in a release it would resume many of its suspended services, and all surgeries will go ahead, as the Avalon Peninsula moves away from the tight restrictions of Alert Level 4. 

The health authority listed the restriction changes on its website.

Health Minister John Haggie has said Newfoundland and Labrador is expecting 80,000 total doses of vaccine by the end of March. As of Wednesday, health-care workers had administered 55,231 shots, innoculating 45,704 people.

That means just over 10 per cent of the eligible population has received at least one dose, according to Health Department data.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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