New case of COVID-19 on P.E.I. linked to 3 possible exposure sites

Prince Edward Island has one new case of COVID-19 and three potential exposure sites, after a woman in her 20s returned from travel within the Atlantic bubble.

Possible exposure sites include Atlantic Superstore at 465 University, 2 Charlottetown restaurants

Dr. Heather Morrison listed three possible coronavirus exposure sites in Charlottetown during an unexpected briefing Wednesday. (CBC)

Prince Edward Island has one new case of COVID-19 and three potential exposure sites in Charlottetown.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison made the announcement Wednesday during an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing.

The case is a woman in her 20s who travelled to P.E.I. from within Atlantic Canada recently. She is experiencing mild symptoms and is self-isolating at home, Morrison said.

Contact tracing is underway. So far, close contacts of the woman who have been tested have all received negative results. 

Visited grocery store, 2 restaurants 

Morrison said anyone who was at the Atlantic Superstore at 465 University Ave. in Charlottetown on Monday between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. should monitor themselves closely for symptoms and get tested if any develop.

Other possible exposure sites include the Terra Rossa restaurant Saturday between 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and the Gahan House between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. the same night. People patronizing those restaurants should also monitor for symptoms.

I don't think this is cause for alarm.— Dr. Heather Morrison

The Gahan House quickly posted a message on its Facebook page about the exposure: "We have shared our contact tracing list with the CPHO and they are reaching out to all guests that need to be tested.

Message posted Tuesday on The Gahan House's Facebook page. (Facebook/Gahan House)

"As per the recommendation of the CPHO, all front of house team members who worked during those hours have been asked to self-isolate and are being tested.

"Heightened cleaning and sanitation measures are taking place throughout the restaurant above and beyond our regular increased cleaning and sanitizing protocols. In consultation with public health, we have been assured that no further action is needed at this time."

Bill Pratt, CEO of Chef Inspired group of restaurants, which operates Terra Rossa, said in an email to CBC News that he had spoken with Morrison "multiple times" on Wednesday.

"All of our staff have gone for testing and will continue to follow directions from the health board," he added. 

CBC News has also reached out to Atlantic Superstore for comment. 

More new cases wouldn't be a surprise

Morrison said the new case is not surprising, and more cases should not be unexpected.

"I don't think this is cause for alarm," she said. "It's really a reminder for Islanders to continue doing what we need to do."

Morrison reiterated that anyone who was at a bar or restaurant in Halifax after 10 p.m. in the last few weeks should get tested.

On Monday, P.E.I. announced it would be leaving the Atlantic bubble due to a rise in cases in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Testing hours to be expanded

Lineups for COVID-19 test procedures have been getting longer recently; at 4 p.m. Wednesday, dozens of vehicles were lined up at the drive-thru testing facility in Charlottetown.

To cope with the demand, Morrison said Health PEI will be expanding testing hours across the province. Clinics at Slemon Park and Charlottetown will be open until 8 p.m.

As well, a news release issued after the briefing said Islanders wanting tests "now have the option of booking their appointment online and receiving a scheduled test in Slemon Park in Summerside or at the Charlottetown testing clinic on Park Street." 

The release quoted Health PEI chief of nursing Marion Dowling as saying people using this option must wait for the COVID clinics to call or email them back with a specific appointment time. 

On Tuesday, Morrison urged people to cancel plans to travel over Christmas, warning that the rise in new cases in the other two Maritime provinces would likely mean more infections here as well. 

P.E.I. now has two known active case of COVID-19, out of the 70 diagnosed since the pandemic began. 

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Carolyn Ryan


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