PEI

P.E.I. MPs say they will have to self-isolate when they come back from Ottawa

Island MPs say health officials have told them they will need to self-isolate after they return from Ottawa.

'I isolated for, after the second test, I don’t know how many days but it was over a week anyhow'

Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay wears a mask while answering reporters questions in Ottawa on Wednesday. (CBC)

Island MPs say health officials on P.E.I. have told them they will need to self-isolate after they return from Ottawa.

All four P.E.I. MPs will be in Ottawa next week for the throne speech. 

Tuesday, Charlottetown MP Sean Casey told CBC News health officials had deemed MPs essential workers. That meant they would not have to self-isolate for 14 days after they returned to the Island. MPs would be tested. Once that test came back, which usually takes a couple of days, their self-isolation would end.

P.E.I.'s chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison held a conference call with P.E.I. MPs just before noon Wednesday and told them they would have to isolate for 14 days when they come back from Ottawa.

Malpeque MP Wayne Easter says this will make the jobs of P.E.I. MPs and senators much more difficult. 

61 new cases in Ottawa

"I guess after the news story on CBC this morning there must have been some rethinking of the issue at Health P.E.I. and by the officials concerned, and whereas we thought we'd be basically under the same rules as truckers — come back, get tested wait, whether it's 24 or 72 hours and then you'd be fine — that's not the case," Easter said Wednesday.

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison held a conference call with P.E.I. MPs Wednesday and told them they would have to isolate for 14 days after they come back from Ottawa. (Ken Linton/CBC)

MPs say they were told they could work-isolate, which means they could go to work, wear a mask and stay six feet apart. But they must avoid gatherings and public events. It's also unclear if MPs will be allowed to meet with constituents during that 14 day work-isolation period. 

The Chief Public Health Office told CBC News it is in the process of "clarifying the messages on testing and isolation guidance" and would have further details on Sept. 22, one day before the speech from the throne is read in Ottawa. 

Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay, who is P.E.I.'s only cabinet minister, has already travelled back and forth to Ottawa for a cabinet meeting.

"What I have to do is be tested when I go back and I certainly will be," MacAulay told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday. 

"The last time I went back I isolated for, after the second test, I don't know how many days but it was over a week anyhow."

Ottawa reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. 

'I'm not particularly interested in self-isolating'

Island MPs say they want to know the rules so they can follow them. 

Charlottetown MP Sean Casey says he will be in Ottawa next week, but will not return after that unless it is absolutely necessary. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

All four Island MPs say they will still go to Ottawa next week, but may not travel back and forth as frequently.

Casey said he will not return to Ottawa again unless it is absolutely necessary.

"It does mean that this will be my last trip to Ottawa until I am compelled to attend or until the rules change," said Casey.

"I'm not particularly interested in self-isolating every time I go, so if I have the option to do it virtually, which I presently do, that's exactly what I will do."  

More from CBC P.E.I.

About the Author

Wayne Thibodeau

Prince Edward Island

Wayne Thibodeau is a reporter/editor with CBC Prince Edward Island. He has worked as a reporter, editor, photographer and video journalist in print, digital and TV for more than 20 years. He can be reached at Wayne.Thibodeau@CBC.ca

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