PEI

Saturday March 14: How COVID-19 is affecting P.E.I. today

In a press conference Saturday afternoon, Dr. Heather Morrison confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on P.E.I. The Queens County woman is in her 50s and has recently returned from a trip on a cruise ship.

A roundup of the latest local cancellations and restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison is advising Islanders against non-essential travel outside of Canada. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Saturday, officials announced a single confirmed case of COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island.

There are a growing number of cancellations happening and precautions being put in place to protect the public.

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison updated Islanders on the latest news surrounding the coronavirus at a press conference in Charlottetown at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. She plans to hold media briefings daily. 

Today's top stories

  • Morrison confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on P.E.I. The case is a Queens County woman is in her 50s who returned last weekend from a cruise. Upon her return, when she began to develop symptoms she went home and called 811. The tests were sent ot the National Microbiology Laboratory in WInnipeg.
  • In the same press conference, Morrison 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. 
  • Morrison said a decision on whether or not to close P.E.I. public schools after the March break will likely be made this week.
  • Canada's minister of foreign affairs urged Canadian travellers to return to Canada while commercial means remain available.
  • Premier Dennis King said Friday he and his family will be self-isolating for the next 14 days. In a release, he said they are "feeling great" but are self-isolating after being in Boston.

Health

  • Twenty-three new phone lines have been added to the 811 health information service, Morrison said. The service is the first point of contact for people who are concerned they have the disease.
  • Seniors' homes Whisperwood Villa, Garden Home and Lady Slipper Villa have put extra restrictions in place and have asked visitors who have travelled or are ill to stay home. Greeters are also in place at entrances to screen people.
  • Andrews Senior Care is no longer accepting visitors at its homes across the Island. Exceptions will be made on compassionate grounds on a case by case basis. Families of residents are asked to direct questions to their respective director of care or administrator.
  • The Queen Elizabeth Hospital's emergency department had said they were ready for the first case of COVID-19, according to emergency department chief Dr. Ron Whalen.

Events, concerts, sports and shows

  • The City of Charlottetown is closing all city-owned sport and recreation facilities and cancelling parks and recreation programming, including March break activities, until further notice.
  • The viewing party in Tyne Valley on Saturday for the Kraft Hockeyville top-four announcement has been cancelled.
  • The Canadian Folk Music Awards has been cancelled. The event was scheduled for April 3-4 in Charlottetown, but on Friday morning organizers decided to cancel. Tickets for the event can be refunded.

Schools, colleges and university

  • Friday was the last day of school before March break for most public schools. Morrison said the decision on P.E.I. public schools closures will likely be made this week.
  • As of March 20, UPEI will be suspending in-person classes for the remainder of the semester.
  • UPEI continues to monitor the development of COVID-19 and said this week that travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, either as part of a UPEI program or for university business, has been suspended until further notice.
  • Holland College, like UPEI, is keeping an eye on the development of COVID-19. Last week the school said "at this time, we have suspended all travel to and from China relating to our educational joint ventures." At this time, no class suspensions have been announced for Holland College.

Travel

  • Canada's minister of foreign affairs urged Canadian travellers to return to Canada while commercial means remain available. 
  • So far there are no travel restrictions for Islanders, but the province is recommending Islanders cancel all non-essential travel outside Canada.
  • Any Islanders who have travelled outside of Canada — whether experiencing symptoms or not — are recommended to self-isolate for 14 days following their return if they travelled after March 8.
  • The federal government announced Friday there will be a ban on boats and cruise ships carrying more than 500 people from docking at Canadian ports until July — which will affect the P.E.I. cruise ship season. Port Charlottetown said in a release that it supports the federal government's decision.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

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