Talks underway, but P.E.I. not ready to ease COVID-19 restrictions yet, Morrison says

P.E.I. has had no new positive cases of COVID-19 in the last five days, chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in her briefing on Monday.

23 of 25 positive cases now considered recovered, says chief public health officer

There are no new cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. Monday, says chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison. (Ken Linton/CBC)

P.E.I. is not ready to ease up on restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but Dr. Heather Morrison said talks are beginning on what that might look like.

The Island has not had any new positive cases in the last five days, Morrison said in a briefing on Monday. The number of positive cases remains at 25. Morrison said 23 are considered recovered.

She said 175 negative results came back over the weekend. About 1,900 people on P.E.I. have been tested.

"What we are doing is making a difference, but we need to keep going," she said.

She said officials are regularly reviewing decisions and looking ahead, but it's difficult to put a time on when restrictions might ease. She said decisions such as delaying the start of the recreational fishing season are not taken lightly.

We hope that we can make announcements and give direction about when we can make changes about some of those start dates.— Dr. Heather Morrison

"We're all facing challenges at this time. People are unable to work, children who are not at school and have not seen their friends, Islanders who cannot see their loved ones," she said.

"So for these reasons and many more including the recreational fishing season, we hope that we can make announcements and give direction about when we can make changes about some of those start dates."

She said the importation of cases from other provinces and countries remains a big concern, and officials want to make sure they can measure impacts from easing the restrictions. 

Nationally, the number of positive cases was doubling every three to five days. That has now slowed to every five to eight days, Morrison said. But she said it's too early to predict whether that trend will continue.

"I certainly feel like everybody else on P.E.I. It would be nice to know when exactly those public health measures would be restricted," she said. 

"The other provinces are also talking about what that could look like — various stages because the disease and the virus is at different stages."

She said law enforcement will continue to fine people who violate public health orders, such as not self-isolating when required, or gathering in groups of more than five.

The Chief Public Health Office has received about 200 reports to its phone line about people who may not be following the orders, resulting in more than 100 visits to homes, several verbal and written warnings and four charges.

At Confederation Bridge, eight vehicles carrying a total of 11 people were asked to turn around this weekend as their travel was deemed non-essential, a provincial government spokesperson said in an email to CBC News. The email added that since the province began screening at the bridge, 24 vehicles and 33 people have been asked to turn around.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More from CBC P.E.I.


About the Author

Shane Ross is a former newspaper and TV journalist in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. He joined CBC P.E.I.'s web team in 2016.

With files from Malcolm Campbell


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