COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Monday, Dec. 7

P.E.I. residents are now living under sweeping new public health measures due to an outbreak of 11 cases of COVID-19.

Increased testing, new public health measures, some schools moving to online learning

Health PEI is increasing testing capacity in response to the latest outbreak. Cars were quick to line up for testing Monday morning. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King is hoping some Islanders may be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine before 2020 ends.

P.E.I. residents are now living under sweeping new public health measures due to an outbreak of 11 cases of COVID-19.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced four new cases of COVID-19 on Monday — a female in her 20s and three males, two in their 20s and one in his 30s — all living in the Charlottetown area. The four new cases are all close contacts of seven positive cases announced on the weekend.

Four cases were announced Sunday and are connected to three cases announced on Saturday.

Here's a handy map showing possible COVID-19 exposure areas and the times of possible exposures. 

And here's a list of what Islanders can and can't do in the next two weeks, during what is being called a "COVID circuit breaker."

Charlottetown Rural High School is one of four high schools moving to online learning, the province announced Sunday. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

In response to the expected hit on hourly-wage workers' pockets, the P.E.I. government announced measures to give out amounts ranging from $100 to $500, as well as bringing back an employee gift card program.

Health PEI is increasing testing capacity in response to the latest outbreak. 

Premier Dennis King has asked all Islanders in the capital region between the ages of 20 and 29 to get tested, even if they have no symptoms. Thousands lined up to take tests Monday at the Park Street drive-thru facility, with some spending hours in their cars.

Not sure what to expect when you go for a COVID-19 test, other than a long lineup? We have you covered with this swab-filled story.

P.E.I. now has 14 active cases, and 84 cases total since the pandemic began, with no deaths and no hospitalizations.

The A&W on University Avenue in Charlottetown closed temporarily after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. (Shane Ross/CBC)

All in-person classes and exams are being suspended as of Monday and only a limited number of employees will remain at UPEI as it moves to an "essential services" model.

All P.E.I. school sports and extra-curricular activities have been temporarily suspended, and four high schools will move to remote learning.

Some high school students on P.E.I. are concerned they won't be getting the same level of education when classes move online.

Also on the education front, students and staff in P.E.I. public school grades 7-9 must now abide by masking rules brought in recently for high school students.

All restaurants on P.E.I. are now closed for indoor dining and some have turned to takeout only.

The head of the Catholic Church on P.E.I., Bishop Richard Grecco, says he understands the need to limit faith-based gatherings to 10 people or fewer, but he knows church members will be disappointed

Also in the news

  • P.E.I. businesses 'resilient' in the face of new restrictions, says chamber of commerce.
  • Getting a photo with Santa is an annual tradition for many children on P.E.I., but there will be no sitting on Santa's lap this year. 
  • Island comedian Sandy Gillis shared how keeping people laughing has been keeping up his own spirits during the pandemic. 

Further resources

  • Here is information for living with the COVID-19 pandemic on P.E.I. — including information on government relief programs, physical distancing measures and essential health services.
  • Here is a look at how coronavirus is spreading across Canada.

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.