Islanders must work together in pandemic to avoid 'reversing restrictions,' says Morrison
‘I am concerned that this could be the beginning, in certain regions, of a second wave’
With COVID-19 cases climbing in three provinces, P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison is asking Islanders not to give in to pandemic fatigue.
"We're going to be living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future," Morrison said at her regular weekly briefing Tuesday.
"It's important that we work together to not let the pandemic fatigue set in. We do not want to become complacent. What we do now influences the weeks and months ahead and we do not want to get to the point of reversing restrictions and moving backwards as we are seeing in some of the other provinces."
With Quebec reporting 489 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, provincial Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda said the province is in the middle of a second wave. The size of private gatherings in parts of the province have been reduced to six people, and other public gatherings, such as church services, have been reduced to 25.
Ontario reported an additional 478 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and B.C. has 1,987 active cases, a record high.
P.E.I. currently has no active cases.
"I am concerned that this could be the beginning, in certain regions, of a second wave," said Morrison.
"[We need to do] everything we can to keep our Island and Islanders as safe as possible with those cases going on in the rest of the country."
Morrison urged Islanders to keep their social circles small, and to keep in mind the three Cs when meeting with other people.
- Close contact.
- Continuous period.
- Closed environment.
Clinics, 811 busy
As schools open again, and cooler weather drives people indoors, more Islanders are developing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and that is increasing traffic at testing clinics and on the 811 phone help line.
Callers to 811 have been getting busy signals this week, and 281 people were tested at the Charlottetown clinic.
While the testing clinics are busy, both Morrison and Health PEI chief of nursing Marion Dowling recommended that Islanders with symptoms use the self-assessment tool on the government website and go to the nearest drop-in clinic, where no appointment is necessary, rather than calling 811.
"There can be a wait," said Dowling.
"We ask people to have patience with our staff and with each other as people are lining up for testing."
Negative test results can be available on the government website as quickly as 12 hours after testing, but with clinics getting busier Dowling said results could take up to 72 hours.