PEI

3 new positive COVID-19 cases bring P.E.I. total to 21

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, has announced three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 21 on the Island.

All 3 related to international travel, and all have been self-isolating

P.E.I.'s chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison announces three new cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. Tuesday. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, has announced three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 21 on the Island.

All three are related to international travel, and all have been self-isolating, Morrison said during a briefing on Tuesday. One is a man in his 20s, one is a woman in her 30s and one a woman in her 40s.

All 21 people who have tested positive are residents of P.E.I., Morrison said.

There have been no deaths on P.E.I. At the time of the briefing, Morrison said there had been 89 deaths across Canada. 

She said almost 800 tests have been conducted for P.E.I. Morrison said she expects the number of positive cases to increase, and officials are looking at different models to get a sense of when the peak will happen. It's the biggest question the whole country is facing, she said.

"That's why it's really important that no one becomes complacent."

Morrison advised people to wash fruits and vegetables after returning from the grocery store, and to try to choose items that are wrapped. She said people should be washing their hands after using a gas pump.

Marion Dowling, Health PEI's chief of nursing, says 25 COVID-19 tests were carried out at a drive-thru clinic in Charlottetown Monday, and five in Summerside. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Morrison reiterated that there should be no faith-based in-person gatherings on P.E.I. She also said there have been reports of teens using cars to gather outside. She is asking people coming to the Island to go to their cottages or summer homes to delay until at least the end of May and reminded that anyone coming into the province has to self-isolate for 14 days.

'Practise physical distance'

She said she realizes it is difficult to stay inside, and it's important to keep spirits up while staying connected but staying apart.

"There have been so many great examples across the province of doing just this," she said.

"This is a time I worry we might get tired of staying at home. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves is to continue to stay at home and practise physical distance." 

Enforcement

Morrison said the province received 60 complaints Monday about people not complying with self-isolation orders. Police said a 27-year-old Summerside man was charged under the Public Health Act.

Police said he had returned from outside the province and was supposed to be self-isolating but violated the order three times. A first offence carries a fine of $1,000.

Marion Dowling, P.E.I.'s chief of nursing, said health-care workers are planning for a surge in COVID-19 cases. She said hospitals have the supplies to meet the immediate needs, and more ventilators are expected to arrive next week.

The government has also put in a request for supplies, including personal protective gear for health-care workers such as masks, gloves and gowns, hand sanitizer and testing supplies.There is a protocol to make sure the supplies are up to the province's standards, Dowling said.

Dowling said cough and fever clinics are running in Charlottetown and Summerside. When arriving to clinics, people are asked to remain in vehicles to ensure proper protocols are maintained.

She said anyone who lives in long-term care will be closely monitored and will be tested, should symptoms be identified. Restrictions for visitors at long-term care and community care will remain in place.

"These restrictions are difficult but necessary," Dowling 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 COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said 899 people had died from COVID-19 across Canada. In fact, there have been 89 deaths.
    Mar 31, 2020 2:55 PM AT

About the Author

Shane Ross is a former newspaper and TV journalist in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. He joined CBC P.E.I.'s web team in 2016.

With files from Sara Fraser, Sam Juric and Malcolm Campbell