Friday, March 13: How COVID-19 is affecting P.E.I. today
Premier Dennis King self-isolating after being in Boston and Ottawa
There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island yet, but there are a growing number of cancellations happening and precautions being put in place to protect the public.
At noon, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said Islanders should cancel all non-essential travel outside of the country and reconsider social gatherings "where a two-metre distance is not possible."
In a news release, the health office also said any Islanders who have travelled outside of Canada (whether experiencing symptoms or not) are advised to self-isolate for 14 days following their return. This includes teachers, students and health-care workers.
Here is what's new on Prince Edward Island:
Today's top stories
- Premier Dennis King said Friday that he and his family will be self-isolating for the next 14 days. In a release, he said he and his family are "feeling great" but are self-isolating after being in Boston and then Ottawa.
- Health Minister James Aylward is currently in self-isolation. Aylward recently returned to the province from Ireland.
- The federal government announced Friday that there will be a ban on boats and cruise ships carrying more than 500 people from docking at Canadian ports until July — which will affect the P.E.I. cruise ship season. Port Charlottetown said in a release that it supports the federal government's decision.
- On Thursday, the government cancelled most travel across departments for the foreseeable future.
- Also on Thursday, roughly 10 Veterans Affairs employees in Charlottetown were sent home after a colleague showed flu-like symptoms. Officials said at that time that "the employee has contacted the P.E.I. health authority and is scheduled to be tested for COVID-19." It is not a presumptive or confirmed case at this time.
- The City of Charlottetown announced that additional cleaning will be taking place at all city-owned facilities, including sports centres and arenas. There will also be additional hand sanitizer at entrances. Coach Atlantic, Maritime Bus and T3 Transit are increasing their cleaning schedules as well.
- In somewhat-related news, the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) announced it's weekly price adjustment, and gas prices are down slightly. IRAC said this week that lower demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic is partly responsible.
- Twenty-three new lines have been added to the 811 health information service, Morrison said. The 811 service is the first point of contact for people who are concerned they have the disease.
- Seniors' homes Whisperwood Villa, Garden Home and Lady Slipper Villa have put extra restrictions in place and have asked visitors who have travelled or are ill to stay home. Greeters are also in place at entrances to screen people.
Events, concerts, sports and shows
- The City of Charlottetown is closing all city-owned sport and recreation facilities and cancelling parks and recreation programming, including March Break activities, until further notice.
- The viewing party in Tyne Valley on Saturday for the Kraft Hockeyville top-four announcement has been cancelled.
- The Maritime Junior Hockey League announced Friday that it has cancelled its playoffs, which directly affects the Summerside Western Capitals who were set to play the Fredericton Red Wings.
- All house league activities for Ringette P.E.I. are cancelled for the rest of the season, the organization announced Friday.
- Comedian Dara Ó Briain's show at the Confederation Centre of the Arts has been cancelled, he announced Friday on Twitter.
- In case you missed it, the U Sports Canadian University women's hockey championships, to be hosted at UPEI, has been cancelled. The event was cancelled Thursday evening around 11 p.m.
- The Canadian Folk Music Awards has been cancelled. The event was scheduled for April 3-4 in Charlottetown, but on Friday morning organizers decided to cancel. Tickets for the event can be refunded.
Schools, colleges and university
- Public schools are still open on P.E.I. and Friday is the last day before March break for most schools.
- As of March 20, UPEI will be suspending in-person classes for the remainder of the semester.
- UPEI continues to monitor the development of COVID-19 and said this week that travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, either as part of a UPEI program or for university business, has been suspended until further notice.
- Holland College, like UPEI, is keeping an eye on the development of COVID-19. Last week the school said "at this time, we have suspended all travel to and from China relating to our educational joint ventures."
- So far there are no travel restrictions for Islanders, but the province is recommending Islanders cancel all non-essential travel.
- Any Islanders who have travelled outside of Canada — whether experiencing symptoms or not — are recommended to self-isolate for 14 days following their return.