PEI

COVID-19 'circuit break' might end early; no new P.E.I. cases for 4th straight day

Prince Edward Island may be able to come out of a two-week 'circuit break' period earlier than expected given that there are no new cases of COVID-19 in the province for the fourth straight day, says Dr. Heather Morrison.

Restrictions on gathering imposed after recent outbreak could ease up early, says Morrison

'I think next week we will be able to give a clear indication of what coming out of the circuit measures could look like,' says P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison. (Ken Linton/CBC)

Prince Edward Island may be able to come out of a two-week "circuit break" period earlier than expected given that there are no new cases of COVID-19 in the province for the fourth straight day, according to Dr. Heather Morrison. 

There are now 12 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, down one from Thursday, and those people are self-isolating and doing well, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer said at a unscheduled briefing Friday.

The province is managing the latest COVID-19 outbreak on P.E.I. better than expected after "an unsettling week for many Islanders," P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said at the briefing.

"We aren't out of the woods here yet, but we sit here before you knowing we are in a much better place today than we even could have thought last Sunday," King said.

'I can say as premier, to all Islanders, that our province is in good hands with this next generation,' says Dennis King. (Ken Linton/CBC)

King applauded the efforts of all the 20- to 29-year-olds who lined up for testing after being asked to do so due to the outbreak identified on the Dec. 5-6 weekend.

That outbreak of 11 cases led King to institute a two-week set of "circuit breaker" measures to shut down gatherings throughout P.E.I. until at least Dec. 21.

The light at the end of the tunnel is getting a little bit brighter.— Premier Dennis King

"I can say as premier, to all Islanders, that our province is in good hands with this next generation," he said. "The light at the end of the tunnel is getting a little bit brighter."

The turnout of young Islanders in the Charlottetown area to get tested was "overwhelming," Morrison said.

"To date, 3,500 tests have been analyzed and all are negative," she said. "Approximately 1,300 tests are still pending in this age category."

Now, only people in the age group who have any COVID-like symptoms are being asked to get tested.

The 11 cases identified last weekend were all contacts of one another — nine people in their 20s and two in their 30s. Morrison said close contacts of those involved in that outbreak will be retested in the coming days.

"Going forward, our office will work with employers and others to continue to focus testing on individuals aged 20-29 who may be living with others in the same age group or work in crowded spaces," she said, noting: "We have not yet identified a source or index case for this outbreak."

Easing protocols early?

Tighter regulations on gatherings, restaurants and organized sports were introduced starting this past Monday to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus and Morrison is "cautiously optimistic" they are working.

"I think next week we will be able to give a clear indication of what coming out of the circuit measures could look like," she said.

Morrison said that means the Island could start to "plug back in shortly … maybe a little bit earlier than anticipated, but much will depend on the next few days."

At Friday's briefing, the chief public health officer gave more details about the COVID-19 vaccines being brought to the province.

Prince Edward Island has confirmed 84 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with no deaths and nobody needing hospitalization. As of Thursday, the province had processed 67,473 tests.

Reminder about symptoms

The symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
  • Possible loss of taste and/or smell.
  • Sore throat.
  • New or worsening fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.

More from CBC P.E.I.

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