1st confirmed case of COVID-19 on P.E.I. announced
'If you have travelled from March 8 onward it is recommended you self-isolate for a total 14 days'
In a media briefing Saturday afternoon, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on P.E.I.
The Queens County woman is in her 50s and recently returned from a cruise, Morrison said.
She said the case is mild and the person is at home doing well, as is her family.
Morrison said the woman did exactly what she was supposed to do — upon her return, when she began to develop symptoms she went home and she called 811.
She said she received the confirmation of the case this afternoon.
'Delivering the news was difficult'
The woman returned to the Island on March 7 and began experiencing symptoms on March 10. She then called 811 and was tested on March 11.
Morrison said telling the woman she had tested positive was difficult.
"I spoke to the woman earlier and it was certainly hard to give her that news, and what that means for her close contacts and the worry for her."
The tests were done at the National Microbiology Laboratory, or NML, in Winnipeg. Morrison said P.E.I.'s cases go straight to the NML to be tested.
We expect results to come back every day. I'm called for every positive case and will continue to be, unless the numbers become too many.— Dr. Heather Morrison
"It makes me happy that we're doing all these things, given the direction we have. We're following suit with the rest of the provinces and the federal government," in preparing for COVID-19, she said.
"It just reminds us, let's be vigilant and the importance of why we're making these decisions."
Morrison said a decision on the closures of public schools on P.E.I. will likely be made later this upcoming week.
She said whether the province decides to open additional testing sites will be re-evaluated as the situation progresses.
"It really depends on resources, on the people who can do the testing and also the numbers as we go forth."
New notices up yesterday at the airport and PEI side of the Confederation Bridge. <br>Check out our FAQ page for answers to your questions about COVID-19. Here's the link 👉<a href="https://t.co/hUgiSCiha6">https://t.co/hUgiSCiha6</a> <a href="https://t.co/tG16ywRpFm">pic.twitter.com/tG16ywRpFm</a>—@InfoPEI
Morrison said the ultimate goal is to minimize the spread.
"Because most of the cases have been linked out-of-country travel, that's the risk and that's why some of these measures have been put in place."
"We expect results to come back every day. I'm called for every positive case and will continue to be, unless the numbers become too many."
Since testing sites opened three days ago, the province has conducted 68 tests, Morrison said.
Morrison said she will have more details on the positive case in the coming days.
She clarified that self-isolation is only recommended for those who have travelled outside of the country after March 8. Those who travelled prior to that date are still being asked to monitor for symptoms.
"If you have travelled from March 8 onward it is recommended you self-isolate for a total 14 days."
She said if people in self-isolation begin experiencing symptoms, those living with them should also self-isolate and monitor their symptoms until test results are confirmed.
Morrison elaborated that the movement of goods and the transportation industry are considered essential travel. People like truck drivers and airline crew will still be able to continue their daily activities but are being asked to self-monitor.
She said the province will continue to have live conferences every day as the situation develops.
The province has put up signs addressing travel, at the Confederation Bridge and at the Charlottetown Airport directing all international travellers to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
COVID-19: What you need to know
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.
How can I protect myself?
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.