P.E.I. reports one new case, seven active, and potential exposures amid 'concerns' of community spread
HALIFAX -- Prince Edward Island reported one new case of COVID-19 on Friday, after five were announced in the last two days. There are currently seven known active cases on the island.
In Friday’s first unscheduled briefing, Dr. Heather Morrison, the province’s chief public health officer expressed concern about close contacts from previous cases.
Morrison said it's concerning that officials haven't identified the source of the cluster.
"We certainly have concerns about possible community spread in P.E.I." Morrison said in a second unscheduled briefing later on Friday afternoon. "This is why we are focused on increased testing."
"We are always more concerned when we don't have a link to travel and we don't have a source of the infection," she said. "We will learn more in the hours and days ahead."
As a precautionary measure, the government is offering COVID-19 testing for all people in Summerside over the weekend who are between the ages of 14 and 29, even if they have no symptoms of the disease.
"Increased testing will tell us if COVID-19 is circulating in the 14-to-29-year-old age group in the Summerside area," Morrison said.
She reported one new case on the Island Friday, involving a woman in her 20s. Morrison said the case does not appear to be directly linked to other cases announced this week. There are now seven active known cases of COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island.
On Wednesday, Morrison reported that two women in Charlottetown had tested positive. Those cases, she said, were related to travel within Atlantic Canada. She said Friday one of the two women has been charged with two infractions under the Public Health Act.
Morrison said the positive tests have been sent to the national lab to see if they are one of the variants of COVID-19.
TWO CASES REPORTED WEDNESDAY
On Wednesday, P.E.I. reported two new cases related to travel involving two women, one in her 20s and one in her 30s.
Morrison says both were related to travel within the Atlantic Provinces, and one was charged with two infractions under the public health act for not properly self-isolating.
Morrison did not provide any more details about the charges.
She says contact tracing has finished for the two cases, and all related tests have turned up negative so far. Some of the close contacts remain in isolation while they wait for test results.
THREE NEW CASES ANNOUNCED THURSDAY
P.E.I. reported three new cases Thursday in the Summerside area. They were all males in their 20s, and all close contacts of each other. All three were reported to have mild symptoms.
Morrison says the investigation is ongoing for their cases, but they are not believed to be linked to travel.
Public health found a total of 39 close contacts to the three men, and reported some trouble getting in touch with them all.
“Public health will continue to work with these cases,” sad Morrison. “Some of their phone numbers were not in service, among other challenges.”
Morrison included potential exposure sites in Friday’s media conference. They are as follows:
- Iron Haven Gym in Summerside
- 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 20
- 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 23
Morrison says anyone who was at that gym during those times is required to self-isolate, as they are considered close contacts of a positive case.
Also mentioned were contact tracing challenges connected to this case. Some phone numbers left for contact tracing were not in service.
“If you were there and haven’t gotten a call from Public Health, go into self-isolation and contact Public Health,” said Morrison.
The other two exposures were as follows:
- The Breakfast Spot in Summerside
- Saturday, Feb. 20 from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Domino’s Pizza in Summerside
- Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 18 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 21 from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The new case reported Friday afternoon is linked to one new public exposure notification in the Charlottetown area:
- A Taste of India (129 Kent Street) on:
- Saturday, Feb. 20 between 4 pm and 10 pm
- Sunday, Feb. 21 between 3 pm and 9 pm
- Monday, Feb. 22 between 3 pm and 9 pm
- Tuesday, Feb. 23 between 10:30 am and 3:30 pm
Morrison says anyone at these locations is required to isolate and get a COVID-19 test, even if they do not have symptoms. Anyone in Summerside with any signs of COVID-19 symptoms should be tested as well.
EXTENDED TESTING HOURS
P.E.I. has extended hours at some testing sites in light of the recent exposures.
On Friday, the hours for the Summerside testing clinic will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It’s located at 40 Aerospace Boulevard.
The hours at the O’Leary testing clinic are extended from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’s located at the O’Leary Health Centre, 15 MacKinnon Dr.
Morrison says there is a possibly of testing hours being extended for the weekend as well, and she will provide an update Friday or later.
“We know that there must be a travel link in some way to these cases,” said Morrison. “But we do not know the source.”
Morrison also mentioned the province has a roster of retired and experienced healthcare staff on standby in case they need more help with testing.
Though Morrison said Islanders have generally been doing a great job at respecting Public Health guidelines, she finished with the following:
“The message is simple: stay home if you are not feeling well.”
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.
With files from The Canadian Press.