P.E.I. reports 2 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday; no plans to rejoin Atlantic bubble
HALIFAX -- Health officials in Prince Edward Island identified two new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, as seven active cases remain in the province.
Tuesday's new cases involve:
- A woman in her 40s who was a close contact of a previous case.
- A woman in her 20s who recently travelled outside of Atlantic Canada.
Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s Chief Medical Officer of Health, says both women are self-isolating at home and contact tracing is underway.
Four new cases were reported Monday; three linked to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, and one a close contact of a previously reported case.
To date, P.E.I. has had 110 positive cases of COVID-19. 103 cases are considered recovered, leaving seven active cases in the province.
As of Jan. 19, 84,667 P.E.I. tests have come back negative. Morrison said 3,011 tests have been processed in the last week.
NO PLANS TO REJOIN ATLANTIC BUBBLE
During a news update on Tuesday, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King revealed his province wouldn't be considering rejoining the Atlantic bubble anytime soon.
“At this time as a province we are not comfortable with moving forward with re-entering the Atlantic Bubble,” said King on Tuesday. “We will continue to monitor the situation, but until we can see a dramatic reduction in the new COVID-19 cases within the region, we will maintain the requirement for all those entering P.E.I. to self-isolate for 14 days.”
"Given the context in the region, we do not anticipate re-establishing our position in the Atlantic bubble until at least mid-February," added Dr. Heather Morrison, pointing to New Brunswick's recent outbreaks and return to the red phase of restrictions in the Edmundston region.
RESTRICTIONS COULD BE EASED LATER THIS WEEK
P.E.I.'s current restrictions are scheduled to remain until Jan. 25, but officials are hinting that some restrictions may be eased later this week.
“At a time when other jurisdictions are experiencing tightening restrictions and increased lockdowns, we are in the fortunate and enviable situation to be looking in the days ahead to see a further, albeit slower, easing of restrictions within our borders,” said King.
King hinted that these eased restrictions could include the expansion of public health gatherings, occupancy and hours of operation in the hospitality sector and other ‘minor adjustments’.
"While many Canadians are functioning under strict public health measures, in P.E.I. we are in the fortunate situation of gradually easing back to a new normal," added Morrison.
UPDATE ON VACCINES
During Tuesday's news update, Morrison revealed that a slowdown of the Pfizer vaccine production may affect P.E.I.'s scheduled shipment, but should not affect their vaccination plan.
The Pfizer slowdown may mean that P.E.I. does not receive a shipment of the 975 doses of the vaccine on Jan. 25, but they would receive two shipments of 975 doses in mid-February.
“The impact of this reduction in P.E.I. will be minimal and will not affect our objective to have everyone in long-term care and community care fully immunized by Feb. 16,” said Morrison. “Given the fact that we’ve been holding back a second dose of vaccine, we are confident we have enough vaccine to continue with our original plan.”
As of Jan. 18, 5,910 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 1,407 second doses.
P.E.I. received its first 1,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech on Dec. 15, 2020.
"We are on track with our plan to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers involved in the COVID-19 response, and long-term care and community care residents and staff across the province," said Dr. Morrison. "By the end of this week, everyone living and working in long-term care facilities will have received their first dose of the vaccine, and they will begin receiving their second dose next week."
Morrison said that by Feb. 16, all long-term care and community care residents and staff will have received both doses of vaccine.
Once everyone in the long-term care and community care sectors have been immunized, P.E.I. Health's focus will turn to vaccinating others in congregate living situations including group homes, community residential facilities, shelters and other priority groups including Indigenous adults and other healthcare workers.
"We plan to expedite the process to immunize certain high risk groups before the end of March, starting with those over 80 years of age living in the community, and registered rotational workers and truck drivers," said Morrison , adding that members of those high risk groups will be able to book appointments in early February for clinics that will begin later that month."
POTENTIAL COVID-19 EXPOSURE
Anyone who was on the following flight is being asked to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, Islanders are asked to visit a drop-in testing clinic to get tested.
- Air Canada Flight AC8302 on Jan. 14
- From Montreal to Charlottetown
- Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Jan. 28
COVID ALERT APP
Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is available in Prince Edward Island.
The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Prince Edward Island provides a list of possible COVID-19 symptoms on their website, which include:
- new or worsening cough
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- sore throat
- runny nose, sneezing, congestion
- muscle/joint/body aches
- feeling unwell/unusual tiredness
- acute loss of sense of smell or taste
Other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea have been reported, but typically along with other COVID-19 symptoms, and may be seen more often in children.