P.E.I. asking health-care workers to come out of retirement for COVID-19 response

P.E.I. is looking for health-care workers to come out of retirement as part of the response to COVID-19 in the province.

‘Health-care workers are working for us, and we need to stay home for them’

Ministers Ernie Hudson and Steven Myers during Thursday evening's news briefing. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

P.E.I. is looking for health-care workers to come out of retirement as part of the response to COVID-19 in the province.

In a news briefing Thursday evening, Minister of Health and Wellness James Aylward said 26 retirees have expressed interest in returning to work to assist with the global pandemic.

"If you are a retired health-care worker and would like to return to work to help with the COVID-19 situation, please reach out to Health PEI," said Aylward, who is in self-isolation after returning from Ireland. 

He said they're working closely with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of P.E.I., the College of Registered Nurses of P.E.I. and the medical society to expedite licence renewals.

Aylward said they will not be turning away volunteers, as they need "all hands on deck." 

'It's not about you, it's about us'

The province also announced that they will be giving $10,000 to the Community Foundation of P.E.I. to purchase tablets for seniors in self-isolation.

The donation comes after it was announced that there would be no visitors to long-term and community care facilities across the province on Sunday, which Morrison said is to protect the Island's most vulnerable.

Aylward also emphasized the need for Islanders to stay home and follow the recommendations from the Chief Public Health Office.

"Health-care workers are working for us, and we need to stay home for them," said Aylward. "It's not about you, it's about us."

He also said Go P.E.I. will be offering online fitness classes for Islanders self-isolating. Gyms were closed with other non-essential businesses on Wednesday.

Premier Dennis King did not call in to the briefing from self-isolation. Minister Steven Myers said he was on the phone with the prime minister and other premiers.

The province said there will be more information to come on the rollout of the previously announced financial relief, and that they are "very close" on alternative arrangements to purchase liquor from government-owned stores. 

All-party initiatives

In a news release sent before the briefing, officials said Heath MacDonald, Liberal MLA and former minister of finance, has been engaged to provide input and advice as the government focuses on "all-party initiatives" in response to COVID-19.

The release also said members from the Progressive Conservative, Liberal and Green parties are uniting to create a Islanders Helping Islanders volunteer service directory in the coming days. 

The directory will list community services and supports available in each of the 27 electoral districts.

P.E.I. announced their second case of COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon. The man had recently returned from the U.K. and was in self-isolation when he began showing mild symptoms.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said the man continues to have mild symptoms and is self-isolating at home.

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.


Nicola MacLeod grew up on P.E.I., where she is now a multi-platform reporter and producer for CBC. Got a story? Email

With files from Sam Juric and Malcolm Campbell


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