PEI

COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Thursday, March 26

P.E.I.'s chief public health officer has confirmed four new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total to nine. 

4 new cases announced Thursday evening, bringing total to 9

Walkers at Victoria Park in Charlottetown are reminded to practise social distancing when using the boardwalk. (Nicola MacLeod/CBC)

P.E.I.'s chief public health officer has confirmed four new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total to nine. 

All four are men between the ages of 55 and 70 who travelled internationally and self-isolated upon their return.

In her first news briefing of the day, Dr. Heather Morrison said one of the original cases of COVID-19 in the province has recovered, but like everyone else, is still required to practise social distancing.

In New Brunswick, chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said a new confirmed case of COVID-19 on P.E.I. arrived at Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport on March 18 from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on Air Transat Flight TS2653.

Red Shores has temporarily laid off 220 casual, part-time and full-time employees after COVID-19 brought about the closure of the Charlottetown and Summerside locations.

Premier Dennis King spoke with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin from his home in self-isolation, which he has extended by a day.

The P.E.I. Firefighters Association is looking at ways to keep firefighters safe during the outbreak, while still going on medical calls.

A grocery store in Souris, P.E.I., has introduced COVID-19 screening measures at its entrance because of its proximity to the Souris ferry terminal, which connects P.E.I. and the Magdalen Islands. 

Eighteen beds at the addictions facility in Mount Herbert are being converted in the expectation of more demand for hospital beds. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

The Community Outreach Centre located at 211 Euston St. in Charlottetown has temporarily relocated to Birchwood Intermediate School. The larger space will allow for increased capacity for services for the city's most vulnerable, while adhering to public health recommendations like social distancing.

Some inmates at the Provincial Correctional Centre have been temporarily released, and weekend sentences are on hold. The measures were put in place because of concerns about COVID-19 getting into the jail.

The province is shutting down an addictions transition unit to make room for more hospital beds, in anticipation of increased demand. An 18-bed addictions transition unit at Mount Herbert has been closed. A recovering addict being released from the program is worried about a relapse.

P.E.I. businesses are struggling to carry on with so much uncertainty in the future.

P.E.I. charities are cancelling events, and that's having an impact on their ability to raise money.

Music P.E.I. is launching an online concert series. It is asking for donations to its Music P.E.I. Crisis Relief Fund, which will be used to pay the artists, who are facing financial difficulties because in-person concerts are shut down.

  • A full list of COVID-19 cancellations can be viewed here. You can report closures on our cancellation hotline at 1-877-236-9350.

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​​​Financial relief

  • IRAC suspended rental hearings until April 6 in response to the pandemic.

  • Ottawa has agreed not to claw back money provided under the employment insurance program under these special circumstances, and some Islanders not currently eligible for EI will be able to get it, says Premier Dennis King.

  • The Charlottetown water and sewer utility is offering options for flexible payments to people suffering financial difficulties during the public health emergency.
  • The province has announced $2 million to further support early learning centres, staff and parents. Minister of Education Brad Trivers said the funding will ensure that families will not have to pay fees while early learning centres are closed. The fund is expected to cover the next six weeks, starting March 20. 
  • The province announced $500,000 in relief, including money for United Way, food banks, the Salvation Army and other non-government organizations that help Islanders.
  • Innovation PEI will provide self-employed Islanders $500 a week, and provide loans of up to $100,000 to small business affected by the pandemic.
  • Workers who continue to work but have had their hours cut due to COVID-19 will be eligible for a temporary $200 allowance per week.
  • The province's largest landlord, the P.E.I. Housing Corporation, will suspend evictions for six weeks, as of March 17. 
  • Maritime Electric is suspending disconnection for non-payment for two weeks starting March 17.
  • P.E.I. Education Minister Brad Trivers announced licensed daycare staff will be eligible for employment insurance. Grants and subsidies will continue for licensed daycares. The province will provide emergency child-care services to essential workers who have no other options. 

Health

  • Morrison announced the deployment of an emergency mini-clinic on the Island, ahead of an expected rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

  • The province is closing the addictions transition unit at Mount Herbert in the expectation of more demand for hospital beds.

  • Blood donation is still needed in the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian Blood Services' location at 85 Fitzroy St. in Charlottetown has the goal of collecting 32 units a day.

  • A social media researcher is advising parents that with children spending more time online during the pandemic, it's important to talk to them about what they're doing there.

  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of P.E.I. is fast-tracking its licensing process in response to COVID-19.

  • P.E.I. has launched an online self-assessment for COVID-19 to alleviate high call volumes to 811.

  • P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention services is concerned social isolation could bring on more domestic violence.

  • Health PEI is restricting all visitors to its facilities except palliative care, intensive care, neonatal intensive care, obstetric and pediatric units. In these units, only one designated visitor is permitted — a member of the patient's immediate family or their care partner within the hospital.

  • Seniors' homes and community care facilities across the province remain closed to outside visitors.

  • The P.E.I. government is publishing the number of positive, negative and pending test results on its website. 

  • All dental clinics on P.E.I. are closed until further notice. Some clinics can manage emergency care, patients must first call to have emergencies evaluated.

  • Physiotherapy clinics across P.E.I. are closed until further notice, says the physiotherapy association, while chiropractors and optometrists said they are scaling back services.

  • Health PEI is rescheduling non-essential appointments, and said those affected will be contacted directly.

  • People who are ill or showing any symptoms of illness are being asked to call 811 and stay away from any P.E.I. health-care centres, unless they are seeking treatment. 

Education

  • The Island's university and college students are beginning to return to class, but all online.

  • While spending more time at home, Islanders are taking advantage of resources at provincial libraries, again, all online. The physical libraries are closed.

  • Schools are closed. "Home-learning resources" have been posted online for students to learn at home now that March break is over, and officials are working on curriculum-based resources to roll out online If schools remain closed after April 6.

  • P.E.I. and Canada Student Loan repayments have been suspended for six months. 

  • UPEI and Holland College classes have resumed online.

  • UPEI and Holland College have essential personnel only on campus.

  • Child-care centres are also closed.

Travel

  • Any Islanders who have travelled out of province — whether experiencing symptoms or not — are required to self-isolate for 14 days following their return. This applies to people who have travelled internationally since March 8, and anyone who travelled to another province since March 21.

  • Screening checkpoints are set up at the Confederation Bridge, Charlottetown airport and Souris ferry terminal.

  • Some Islanders abroad are still having trouble finding a way home.

  • The federal government has banned boats and cruise ships carrying more than 500 people from docking at Canadian ports until July.

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.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

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

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

Corrections

  • In a previous version of this story, we identified Steven Myers and the minister responsible for the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission. IN fact, he spoke Tuesday in his capacity as chair of the Government Operations Special Cabinet Committee.
    Mar 25, 2020 11:44 AM AT

With files from Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon and Elizabeth Fraser

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