Public health officials are seeing a small increase in COVID-19 cases in Newfoundland and Labrador but the province remains on track for the lifting of all COVID restrictions by mid-March.
However, officials are still encouraging public health measures despite the eventual lifting of mandatory restrictions.
389 new confirmed cases are being reported in the province today, with 15 people in hospital. With 197 recoveries there are 2,506 active cases in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says the number of recent hospitalizations have been manageable.
She says the majority of those hospitalized with Omicron require less care and intervention than previous variants.
Despite the fact that mandatory mask protocols are lifting in public spaces, they will still be required in health care facilities and certain businesses and organizations may still require masks to be worn. Masks will continue to be mandatory in schools until at least the Easter break.
She says that is to keep as many students in school as possible. That will be reassessed closer to the Easter break.
Changes are coming to visitor restrictions in the health care system.
As of this Friday, patients of health care and long term and personal care facilities will be able to have up to two visitors at a time, and can have multiple visitors throughout visitation hours.
Visitors will still be required to wear masks and are asked not to enter health care facilities if they have flu or cold-like symptoms.
Health Minister John Haggie says it’s the next step in easing COVID restrictions.
He admits however that as restrictions continue to ease people will respond to the changes at their own pace.