PEI

No new COVID-19 cases found in connection with QEH cluster on P.E.I.

Hundreds more tests for COVID-19 came back negative Tuesday and none were positive, as P.E.I. worked to contain a small cluster of cases connected to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.

More than 1,000 tests conducted in last three days

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said 1,321 tests had been done on the Island since a medical worker at the emergency department of the QEH tested positive for COVID-19 late Sunday. (Ken Linton/CBC)

Hundreds more tests for COVID-19 have come back negative and none positive, as Prince Edward Island officials work to contain a small cluster of cases connected to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison made the announcement in a briefing Wednesday morning.

She said 1,321 tests had been done on the Island since a medical worker at the emergency department of the QEH tested positive for COVID-19 late Sunday. Those tests included 500 hospital staff, more than originally planned out of an abundance of caution.

Contact tracing from the medical worker identified 101 patients to be tested. Of those, 76 have been tested, 16 are scheduled to be tested Wednesday, and six are out of province and are being followed up in their current locations.

Officials have still not been able to reach three of the patients, though messages have been left for them.

So far, only one other case has been connected to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital staff member — a woman in her 80s who lives in Queens County and had visited the hospital for medical care.

"It is a relief to know that all these tests have come back negative," said Morrison.

The health-care worker had initially tested negative for COVID-19 and so was allowed to go to work at the hospital. He was work-isolating, meaning he had to be in isolation while not at work, and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) while he was.

He worked at the hospital July 4-11 before his positive test was returned. Some people who had contact with him toward the end of that time will require a second round of tests. Those will be done on July 18-19.

Morrison said the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and its emergency department remain fully operational and safe, and those who need care should feel comfortable going there.

All emergency department staff are wearing masks and PPE, the province said. It said it has about 800,000 masks available for staff. They are allocated based on each employee using four per 12-hour shift.

The province had moved to once-a-week COVID-19 briefings on Tuesday mornings as new cases dried up in May and June. But briefings have been more frequent due to six new cases in early July and the weekend confirmation of the cluster connected to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

At Tuesday's briefing, Morrison did announce one other unrelated new case, in a non-medical essential worker who had travelled internationally recently.

More from CBC P.E.I.

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