HALIFAX -- Prince Edward Island reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, with the total number of cases on the island remaining at 26.

Twenty-three cases are now considered recovered. Since Thursday, there have been 118 negative tests.

All confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the island have been connected to travel. Eighteen of the cases are located in Queens County, with the other eight in Prince County. No cases have been identified in Kings County.

The individuals with positive cases on the island range in age from 20 to 79. Out of the 26 confirmed cases, 11 are women, and 15 are men. 

Dr. Heather Morrison, Prince Edward Island’s chief public health officer, said she’s growing concerned about the increase of alcohol and drug use on the island.

“It’s important that we look after each other’s mental health and our own mental health, and our physical health,” said Morrison.

Morrison suggests Islanders follow the province’s lowest drinking guidelines.

“Which means for women… up to and no more than two drinks a day, and for men, up to and no more than three drinks a day,” said Morrison, in a news conference on Friday.

“And no more than 10 drinks per week for women, and no more than 15 drinks per week for men.”

Anyone planning to travel to Prince Edward Island is required to call or email the Emergency Measure Organization before arriving to disclose the purpose of their travel, so the organization may determine if it is considered essential or not. The contact information for EMO is 902-894-0385 or by email at publicsafety@gov.pe.ca.

Permanent island residents or essential workers are not required to call EMO to make arrangements to enter the province.

On Thursday, Prince Edward Island declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the measure will help with the screening process at provincial borders.

The province’s state of emergency was effective Friday at 8 a.m. until April 30 at 11:59 p.m.

P.E.I. also extended the current state of public health emergency, which was declared under the Public Health Act on March 16, for an additional 30 days.

Marion Dowling,Prince Edward Island's director of nursing, said the island is preparing for the possibility of a significant surge in cases over the next couple of months. They are working to secure additional resources such as protective equipment, ventilators, and space for beds if needed.

“Our planning and operational teams are looking at, and preparing for what possibly could be needed,” said Dowling.

The province said they plan to do as much as possible to protect those living in long-term care homes. While some measures have already put in place in long-term care homes, including no-visitor policies, Dowling said more needs to be done.

 “As an additional protection for these Islanders, with the recent public health order that took effect, all health-care staff who work in long-term care, who have travelled outside of P.E.I. for any reason must self-isolate for 14 days and not be at work,” said Dowling.

Dowling hopes these additional measures will help slow the spread of COVID-19, especially within the provinces long-term care homes.