No new cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I., off-Island travel still discouraged

P.E.I. has no new cases of COVID-19, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison reported in her regular weekly briefing on Tuesday.

Island has had 110 cases, with 104 of those considered recovered

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, says the province's next shipment of the Pfizer vaccine is due the week of Feb. 1. (CBC)

P.E.I. has no new cases of COVID-19 to report, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in her regular weekly briefing on Tuesday.

The Island has had 110 confirmed positive cases since the pandemic began in March. Six cases were still considered active as of Tuesday morning.

Morrison said that despite the low number of active cases in P.E.I. and Nova Scotia, it is too early to consider a bubble involving just those two provinces in which residents could travel back and forth without self-isolating — a partial Atlantic bubble, as it were.

She said non-essential travel off P.E.I. is still strongly discouraged.

While Nova Scotia has just 15 active cases, New Brunswick has not been as fortunate. It currently has 348 active cases.

We learned that this virus is not easily contained and that half measures are not effective.— Dr. Heather Morrison— Dr. Heather Morrison

"While we all yearn for a time when we can travel more freely within Atlantic Canada and elsewhere, now is not the time to leave P.E.I. unless it is absolutely necessary," she said.

"We learned that this virus is not easily contained and that half measures are not effective."

Hockey team must self-isolate

Morrison said anyone who leaves the province — including the Charlottetown Islanders hockey team — must self-isolate for 14 days upon return unless they receive an exemption.

Morrison said the team can apply to work-isolate, which means they can go directly back and forth to the rink for games and practices, but must self-isolate at all other times.

That would rule out players, coaches or team staff going to school or off-ice jobs. 

So far, Morrison said, 85 people have been charged for violating public health measures during the pandemic, including eight new charges in the past week.

She warned that people will continue to be charged if they fail to self-isolate when required.

If a restaurant looks too crowded it likely is. We all have a responsibility to make good choices. Do not enter an establishment if it looks too crowded.- Dr. Heather Morrison- Dr. Heather Morrison

Morrison also said there will be additional evening inspections at restaurants to ensure COVID-19 health protocols are being followed. She has heard concerns about crowded restaurants where social distancing is not taking place.

"If a restaurant looks too crowded, it likely is," she said. "We all have a responsibility to make good choices. Do not enter an establishment if it looks too crowded." 

More vaccines next week

Morrison said new shipments of the COVID-19 vaccines are due next week, and the province remains on track to have all front-line health-care workers, as well as staff and residents of long-term care facilities, vaccinated by Feb. 16.

As of Saturday, a total of 7,117 doses had been administered. The province is now posting vaccine data online showing the breakdown between first and second doses; the dashboard shows that 1,892 Island adults had received both doses as of Jan. 23.

Morrison told the briefing that a phone number will be set up next week for people over 80 to call to set up vaccine appointments starting in mid-February. 

Marion Dowling, P.E.I.'s chief of nursing, also took part in the briefing.

She urged people visiting patients in Island hospitals to not bring food or drinks to their loved ones, and keep their masks on at all times. She also asked that visitors not congregate in waiting rooms after visiting patients.

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.

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