P.E.I. reports no new cases of COVID-19; four active cases remain

Prince Edward Island reported no new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. Four active cases remain in the province.

“I am pleased that there are no new cases to report today,” said P.E.I.’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Heather Morrison, during a press conference on Tuesday.

Prior to Tuesday, P.E.I. last reported two new cases on Saturday, involving:

  • A male student at Charlottetown Rural High school
  • A male between the ages of 10 and 19, who travelled outside Atlantic Canada and was self-isolating

Morrison says the case involving the Charlottetown Rural High student is likely linked to contact with someone who travelled off P.E.I. The student is now isolating, and has mild symptoms. 

Morrison says there are approximately 70 close contacts of the Charlottetown Rural High student who are currently in self-isolation and will be receiving repeat testing this week.

"There's no indication of wide-spread community transmission at this time. We have a large number of close contacts in self-isolation, being contacted on a daily basis and they will be re-tested later in the week," said Morrison. "I definitely encourage anyone with any symptoms to be tested, and not to wait."

To date, P.E.I. has had a total of 72 positive COVID-19 cases. Of those, 68 cases are considered resolved, leaving four active cases in the province.

As of Tuesday, P.E.I. has received 58,337 negative test results.

CLARIFICATION ON ATLANTIC BUBBLE RULES

One week after P.E.I. officially pulled out of the Atlantic bubble, Dr. Morrison spoke to the rules.

“This decision was made in order to balance the importation of COVID-19, and protect the health of Islanders while supporting our economy and minimizing societal disruption,” said Morrison on Tusday. “This means that travelers to P.E.I. must apply for pre-travel approval and self-isolate for 14 days. Island residents and workers also need to self-isolate for 14 days when returning to the island.”

Morrison says P.E.I. has received approximately 400 applications for travel under the family connections and holiday travel for Island residents category.

“We are urging P.E.I. residents who are temporarily living off Island, including students and all who are planning to return to P.E.I. for the holidays to apply for pre-travel approval and identify holiday travel for Island residents for the reason for travel," said Morrison. "Knowing how many islanders will be travelling home for the holidays allows us to plan for staffing and will expedite staffing at the point of entry."

Morrison says in the first week of the Atlantic bubble, P.E.I. has already seen a significant drop in traffic, as well as an increase in applications for rotational workers and work isolation.

Morrison says that from late October to Nov. 24, there was an average of 1,120 personal vehicles crossing the Confederation bridge per day. Since the bubble rules changed on Nov. 24, Morrison says that number has dropped to an average of 225 vehicles a day.

Morrison also says the weekly average of applications for rotational workers has doubled to 71 applications per week, and the weekly average of Islanders applying to work isolate has jumped from 16 to 177.

RULES AROUND SAME DAY TRAVEL

On Tuesday, Morrison clarified that P.E.I. residents who travel back and forth to P.E.I. in the same day for medical reasons, child custody, airport drop-off or picking up a student and do not stay overnight are exempt from 14-day self-isolation.

"This exemption is provide with the understanding that interactions are brief and physically distant and that travel does not involved shopping, visits with friends or family, or stops in public places," said Morrison.

UPDATE ON VACCINES

During Tuesday's update, Morrison also spoke to the prospects of a vaccine for COVID-19.

“The prospect of a vaccine for COVID-19 signals hope that there may be an end in sight for this pandemic. P.E.I. continues to participate in discussions with the federal government and other provinces and territories regarding details around vaccine allocation, distribution, procurement and logistics,” said Morrison.

"We are expecting to receive small amounts of the vaccine initially, likely within the next month,” said Morrison. “I am confident that P.E.I. will be ready to receive, administer, record and report on vaccines as soon as they arrive in the province.”

Morrison says P.E.I. will be following the national recommendations for priority groups to be immunized, but all Islanders who want the vaccine will receive it over time

“While it may take many months for all islanders to be immunized against COVID-19, I know we are all looking forward to immunizing Islanders," said Morrison.

Morrison says there will be initial information about the COVID-19 vaccine and its administration available on the P.E.I. public health website.

This is a developing story, more to come.