P.E.I. health officials urge people to wear face masks indoors; no new COVID-19 cases reported
CHARLOTTETOWN -- Prince Edward Island's chief medical officer of health is strongly urging people to wear non-medical face masks indoors but so far isn't recommending they be mandatory.
Dr. Heather Morrison said Tuesday she used to ask people to "consider" wearing a face mask indoors where a physical distance of two metres cannot be maintained. "At this point I am strengthening this recommendation," she told reporters.
And while she isn't recommending indoor mask-wearing be mandatory on the Island, she said public health officials will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and could change course.
"Wearing a mask alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19," Morrison said. "You must consistently adhere to good hygiene and public health measures, and wearing a non-medical mask provides added protection."
There were no new cases of COVID-19 reported on the Island Tuesday.
Morrison said the five people identified as positive cases on the weekend are all self-isolating and recovering at home.
One of those five Islanders caught the virus after coming into contact with an infected traveller in Nova Scotia, who was en route from the United States to P.E.I. The Islander attempted to drive the traveller to P.E.I.
The U.S. traveller -- who has a student visa to study in P.E.I. -- was turned back from the Island at the Confederation Bridge. That person is now being quarantined in Nova Scotia.
The driver, however, returned to P.E.I. and spread the virus to three people including a woman who works at Whisperwood Villa, a seniors' residence in Charlottetown. Morrison said tests on residents, staff and visitors of the home have all come back negative.
She said there are a few visitors to the residence who still need to be tested. Residents and staff will be tested again Wednesday.
Morrison said the opening of the Atlantic Bubble has gone smoothly for P.E.I. Since July 3, residents of the four Atlantic Provinces have been able to travel within the region without having to self-isolate.
Between July 3-5, Morrison said 5,719 vehicles crossed the Confederation Bridge to the Island, while another 794 vehicles arrived by ferry and 164 people landed at the Charlottetown Airport.
Morrison said almost 1,000 people are currently self-isolating on the Island, while more than 5,500 others have completed the two-week quarantine.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020.
-- By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.