COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Friday, May 15

P.E.I.'s plan to launch Phase 3 of its ease-back plan will be expedited to an expected start of June 1 from June 12, said Premier Dennis King.

Visitor restrictions relax for palliative care

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King announced the province's plans in expediting its ease-back plan. (Ken Linton/CBC)

P.E.I.'s plan to launch Phase 3 of its ease-back plan will be expedited to an expected start of June 1 from June 12, said Premier Dennis King during a media briefing Friday.

The decision was based on several factors, King said, including the province's success in having no new cases of COVID-19 in 17 days. 

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison added that Phase 3 will include the reopening of things like esthetic services, indoor and outdoor dining and campgrounds.

"It is about having us go a little bit faster to allow for movement of people, and back to some of our activities carefully, while maintaining some of our restrictions on the bridge," she said.

"To do this, we will all have to work together to prepare for this." 

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, says reopening the province continues to be a balancing act. (Ken Linton/CBC)

She emphasized that businesses should only open if they feel safe and ready. 

In addition, Morrison said long-term care facilities are currently exploring safe options to allow for visitation. Morrison said she expects more information on that to come next week.

Health PEI's Chief of Nursing Marion Dowling announced changes to the number of visitors that will be allowed in health-care facilities. 

It continues to be a balance between allowing more personal connections, reopening more opportunities for our Island economy and protecting that population.— Dr. Heather Morrison

Due to a lack of community spread in the Island's long-term care facilities the province's palliative-care facilities will be increasing the number of designated visitors allowed for compassionate reasons. 

Beginning Saturday, up to two visitors per patient will be permitted in palliative care, intensive care, neonatal intensive care, obstetrics and pediatric care, Dowling said. 

Marion Dowling, Health PEI's chief of nursing, announced some visitor restrictions have been eased. (Ken Linton/CBC)

Health PEI has also increased the number of visitors for patients who are at the end of their life. 

"Two visitors are permitted per day and those patients can also name up to six individuals who can rotate visits on a daily basis. This means that different people can visit on different days," Dowling said. 

However, she echoed Morrison's sentiments and said restrictions at long-term care facilities will remain in place for now. 

Seasonal residents

Morrison said the province is also planning for what Phase 3 could look at for seasonal residents and cottagers on P.E.I. 

She said the province hopes to have more information on that plan next week, "as our priority continues to be protecting Islanders, especially the most vulnerable." 

"It continues to be a balance between allowing more personal connections, reopening more opportunities for our Island economy and protecting that population." 

Morrison noted the province is optimistically planning for the launch of Phase 4 on July 1, but said that could change as the situation continues to evolve.

The province's plan for child-care will be reviewed as more businesses reopen in Phase 3, says Carolyn Simpson, the P.E.I. government's early years advisor. (Ken Linton/CBC)

The P.E.I. government is expecting to open up 3,300 licensed child-care spaces starting May 22, said P.E.I. Minister of Education Brad Trivers in a second briefing Friday. 

Before COVID-19 struck the Island in March, prompting public health officials to close schools and daycares, there were about 6,000 licensed spots — roughly double the number of spaces expected that will be available next Friday.

"As we go into Phase 3 and more businesses open, of course we'll need to expand from there," said Carolyn Simpson, the province's early years advisor.   

A lobster fisherman prepares to launch for setting day Friday morning. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

With tourism entirely shut down, and no clear idea when it will open, some short-term rental operators are offering up their units for long-term rentals.

Setting day for the 2020 spring lobster season is today, after a two-week delay.

Some lobster fishermen are concerned about their ability to physical distance on boats.

The number of confirmed cases on P.E.I. remains at 27. All have recovered.

Also in the news

Further resources

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


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