PEI

When it's time, COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in intervals, Morrison says

There are no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I., chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in a briefing on Monday.

Number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. remains at 26

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says restrictions on large gatherings, such as weddings, will not be the first to be lifted. (CBC)

There are no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I., chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in a briefing on Monday.

P.E.I.'s total remains at 26 — 15 male, 11 female — with 23 considered recovered. There has been only one positive case in the past 10 days.

Morrison said it's still too early to relax physical distancing rules, but officials continue to talk about how businesses could reopen with restrictions in place, how elective surgeries could resume while keeping beds available and how people can get together with friends and family they have been missing.

"We need to move forward deliberately, thoughtfully, carefully and gradually," she said. "There will need to be a balance going forward. How do we loosen restrictions and contain a virus without a vaccine available?"

This news hits extremely close to home for many Islanders and it's only amplified by the anxiety and stress we may be experiencing in this uncertain time.— Dr. Heather Morrison

Morrison said restrictions would likely be eased in phases, such as two-week intervals. She said restrictions on large gatherings, such as weddings, would not be one of the first measures lifted, but it's too early to talk about the entire summer.

"Each of us will have a role to play as we move forward, because until we have a vaccine, for instance, any case of COVID-19 could pose a threat, especially for vulnerable groups."

More than 2,300 tested on P.E.I.

More than 2,300 people on P.E.I. have been tested. Results are pending for 22. Morrison said anyone entering the province must still self-isolate for 14 days, even if they have a negative test during that time. She said anyone who has not travelled, but has been tested, only needs to self-isolate until their test comes back negative.

Morrison thanked P.E.I. medical microbiologist Dr. Greg German and his team for ensuring P.E.I. continues to have the capacity for local testing, which allows for faster results. She said it also allows more people to get tested, such as workers going into long-term care facilities or people entering those facilities on compassionate grounds.

P.E.I.'s chief of nursing Marion Dowling expressed condolences for those affected by the tragedy in Nova Scotia over the weekend. (CBC)

Morrison and chief nursing officer Marion Dowling expressed condolences to people affected by the tragedy in Nova Scotia over the weekend, in which at least 19 people were killed by a gunman.

"I know this news hits extremely close to home for many Islanders and it's only amplified by the anxiety and stress we may be experiencing in this uncertain time," Morrison said.

Mental health services available

Dowling said mental health supports are in place for anyone in need. She reminded people that the psychiatric urgent-care clinic at Hillsborough Hospital in Charlottetown is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and one will open in Summerside in the coming days.

"I'd just like to remind us all to be kind and support one another in these days," Dowling said.

"We can look forward to how things may change and some services may be more available or the restrictions ease, but we need to do it thoughtfully and carefully … so we don't overwhelm our system and we can prevent deaths on P.E.I."

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.

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