After almost one week of no new COVID-19 cases in Prince Edward Island, three new cases were reported on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 25.

The new cases include a man in his 20s, a woman in her 70s, and a man in his 50s. Two of the new cases are related to international travel, and they began self-isolating immediately after returning to the island.

The third case – a man in his 50s – is the first case on the island related to interprovincial travel.

Prince Edward Island’s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said she spoke with all three individuals on Wednesday. They are all self-isolating at home and feeling well.

Morrison did not say where on the island the new cases are located

Since Tuesday, the island has received 449 negative COVID-19 tests. Seventeen of the island's cases are now considered recovered.

“I think we all are breathing a sigh of relief with these results in many ways because it again, currently indicates that there is no widespread community transmission in P.E.I.,” said Morrison.

Morrison said, although the island’s COVID-19 cases may not be rising as fast as other provinces, it’s still very important that all Islanders follow the government’s public health measures.

“That we continue to self-isolate following travel from anywhere, and for those who are not self-isolating, practising physical-distancing, and good hand-washing, really, really key,” said Morrison.

“We may be doing what we need to do, but we need to continue to do so.”

Wearing non-medical masks

Morrison said she’s been receiving lots of questions surrounding non-medical masks, and who, if anyone, should be wearing them.

“Just want to emphasize that cloth masks do not replace the need to practise social-distancing, or wash your hands and not touch your face,” said Morrison.

Morrison is also reminding residents that cloth masks are said to help protect others in case you are infected, but not yet showing signs. Masks may not protect the person wearing them from others.

“If you do choose to wear a mask, it’s important that you understand that masks don't replace the public health measures that we talked about, and non-medical mask wearing is an additional precaution that some people may choose to take,” said Morrison.

Cough and fever clinics, drive-thru testing clinics

Prince Edward Island's director of nursing, Marion Dowling, said the cough and fever clinics and drive-thru testing clinics will remain open seven days a week in Charlottetown, and Summerside, P.E.I.

“And just a reminder that appointments for these clinics are for on-referral from your family physician, nurse practitioner or through 811,” said Dowling. “When arriving at the clinic, please remain in your vehicle until you’re notified by staff on site to come in.”

Family violence prevention

Justice and Public Safety Minister, Bloyce Thompson, said although many of their staff in victim services is working from home, they are still available, and here for islanders.

“They can help you with general questions, risks assessments, safety planning, and help you apply for emergency protection orders if that’s what you need,” said Thompson.

“Violence exists in our communities, it did before the pandemic, it’s there now, and there’s a risk it’s going to go up,” said Thompson. “And if I’m honest, it’s going to be here after COVID-19.”

Minister of Social Development and Housing, Ernie Hudson, said these are challenging times, with heightened emotions and added stress.

“Our special cabinet committee on family violence prevention is working to ensure that our shared resources are made available for those in need,” said Hudson.

Prince Edward Island’s Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, Natalie Jameson,  said during these hard times help is still available for those experiencing violence.

“It is also important to know, that if a woman and her children are directed to self-isolate, and if they go to Anderson house or the Chief Mary Bernard Memorial Women’s Shelter to escape violence in their home, they will not be subject to fines for not complying to self-isolate,” said Jameson.

Jameson said both the Anderson House and Chief Mary Bernard Memorial Women’s Shelter are currently accepting new residents and have implemented new screening processes and guidelines for keeping shelter residents, and staff safe.

Positive parenting program

Hudson also reminded families of the Positive Parenting Program – or Triple P – which provides parents with techniques and strategies for handling parenting challenges.

“While in person sessions are no longer available, Triple P is offered online, and the province of Prince Edward Island has purchased 150 additional licenses for the program to provide more parents with the program free-of-charge right now,” said Hudson.

Hudson also said the program is offered in English and French, and ranges from about 30 to 60 minutes in length.

This week, Triple P launched a specific COVID-19 specific session for parents.

Hudson says to get the program for free, make sure to navigate to the Prince Edward Island specific page at the top of the home page.

 “The most important thing for those facing violence and the risk of it is to remember this, you are not alone, we are here for you, and if you are in a bad situation, call 911. Don’t think twice if you‘re in trouble, call them, and they will help,” said Hudson.

Easter Bunny deemed essential service

Morrison also made an announcement about the Easter Bunny, confirming he is well, healthy, and deemed essential.

“But I do know, when I was asked earlier this week, that the Easter Bunny's immune system is good, the Easter Bunny does not have COVID, and after discussion with my team, the premier, the Easter Bunny has been deemed essential,” said Morrison.

Morrison also reminded Islanders that, despite the holiday weekend, residents should not be visiting people they do not live with, and should stay in their own homes as much as possible.

“Thank you for listening P.E.I. to these messages, and now we need to continue to do what we have been doing, and we will get through this together,” said Morrison.