PEI

P.E.I. premier frustrated by lack of testing results

No new cases of COVID-19 have been identified Tuesday, making it the fifth day in a row the province hasn't seen an increase in its case numbers. 

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King says he hopes to get test results from lab in Winnipeg more quickly

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King updated Islanders on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on seasonal industries Tuesday. (Ken Linton/CBC)

No new cases of COVID-19 have been identified Tuesday, making it the fifth day in a row the province hasn't seen an increase in its case numbers. The number of COVID-19 cases remains at 22.

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said the province continues to wait on test results to return from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

With no new cases announced over the last several days and more than 450 test results yet to return, King expressed concern at Tuesday's afternoon briefing.

"We feel that this may be luring Islanders into a false sense of belief that we have flattened the curve so to speak. And we haven't."

I am concerned, and yes I do think it's taking too long.— Premier Dennis King

King said that while the laboratory is undoubtedly under great pressure, the province has asked for a quicker turnaround.

"I am concerned, and yes I do think it's taking too long."

King was joined by Minister of Fisheries and Communities Jamie Fox and Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Brad Trivers to address the economic effects of COVID-19 on the Island's core industries and the status of home learning initiatives and emergency child-care for essential workers.

"This is anything but a normal year," said King. 

Minister of Fisheries and Communities Jamie Fox spoke about this year's fishing season amid COVID-19. (Ken Linton/CBC)

"Our three core industries have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, and they are facing many, many challenges today and tomorrow," he said. 

The province, he said, is working to provide support to the tourism, agriculture and fishing industries in the days ahead so they may be better positioned to recover from the economic toll of the pandemic. 

"I know that fishers want to fish, farmers want to farm, tourism operators want to open their establishments and throw around the Island hospitality that keeps bringing people back to our province," King said. 

"Their feelings represent the feelings of every Islander."

Fishing season

As the fishing season approaches, Fox said his office continues to receive calls from fishermen, producers, processors and growers. 

While he doesn't yet know what it will look like, King said the province is currently operating under "the optimism that there will be a spring fishing season." 

However, Fox said the province is looking to Ottawa for guidance. 

"Now more than ever we need leadership from the federal government to decide on the future of the spring season."

Fox said the province is working to make sure, should the season go ahead, that it is done safely and in accordance with health measures to ensure the safety of those working in the local industry. Fox noted the fishing industry on P.E.I. generates nearly $600 million toward P.E.I.'s economy and employs about 8,000 Islanders.

My hope is that we will know sooner rather than later what will happen with the spring fishing season.— Jamie Fox, minister of fisheries and communities

He said the department is working with its federal counterparts to collaboratively develop programs and supports to reduce the economic impacts on the industry. 

"My hope is that we will know sooner rather than later what will happen with the spring fishing season," he said.

Fox said as the province deals with the impacts of the pandemic, the province's Economic Development Agency continues to work to deliver short-term wage subsidies through its programs.

The deadline for the province's jobs for youth program has been extended to April 30 to allow employers time to apply for wage subsidies. 

Approved businesses will be posted to the province's website, where youth will also be able to apply for jobs. 

In 2019, Fox said the EDA program helped more than 1,100 people. The jobs for youth program helps about 400 students annually, he said.

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.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More from CBC P.E.I.

About the Author

Sam Juric

Digital Reporter

Sam Juric is a digital reporter with CBC P.E.I. and can be reached at samantha.juric@cbc.ca.

With files from Malcolm Campbell

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