P.E.I. reports seven new cases of COVID-19 related to elementary school outbreak Thursday; active cases rise to record 34
Health officials in Prince Edward Island are reporting seven new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as the active number of cases in the province rises to 34 - the highest number of cases in the province since the pandemic began.
During a live news update on Thursday, P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison confirmed all seven of the new cases involve close contacts of previously reported cases associated with the outbreak at West Royalty Elementary in Charlottetown.
Three of the cases are under the age of 10, and four are between the ages of 10 and 19.
Morrison says the seven cases all previously tested negative, and subsequently tested positive, highlighting the importance of repeated testing of close contacts. They have already been self-isolating, and contact tracing is ongoing.
"I am concerned about this outbreak and the impact on children and families," said Dr. Heather Morrison during Thursday's news update. "It is worrisome that so many of the cases initially tested negative and tested positive on repeat testing, but we know this can happen."
Morrison says in-person learning will resume on Monday for students and staff at West Royalty Elementary who are not in isolation. She added a pop-up rapid testing clinic will also be held for students and unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated staff at the school on Friday.
"We are asking all children from West Royalty Elementary who are not in self-isolation to be tested tomorrow at this pop-up clinic," said Morrison. “Even if you tested negative earlier this week, we want you to be tested tomorrow.”
Children in Grades 4 to 6 should go between 1:30-3:30 p.m, while children Grades K to 3 are asked to go between 3:30-5:30 p.m. If there are multiple children at the same family, they can visit the clinic at the same time.
Since Saturday, P.E.I. has reported 27 cases of COVID-19; 19 associated with the West Royalty Elementary outbreak, two associated with Charlottetown Rural, two associated with Stratford Elementary School, three cases related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada and one close contact of a previously announced case.
Prince Edward Island currently has 34 active cases of COVID-19 and has had 267 positive cases since the pandemic began.
As of Saturday, Sept. 11, a total of 247,385 doses of vaccine have been administered. So far, 92.2 per cent of the eligible population have received at least one dose and 83.7 per cent have received two doses.
The province says approximately 42,000 people in P.E.I. are not fully vaccinated, including 30,000 who haven’t received one dose of the vaccine.
MANDATORY MASKS, GATHERING LIMITS TO BE REINSTATED FRIDAY
On Wednesday, Morrison announced that P.E.I. will be reinstating several COVID-19 restrictions as of Friday morning.
“In order to further protect Islanders by limited importation and transmission of COVID-19, and also provide additional support for our children to remain in school, we will take the additional following steps,” said Morrison on Wednesday.
As of 8 a.m. on Sept. 17, wearing a mask will be mandatory in public places.
Personal gathering limits will also be limited to 20 people, a decrease from 50.
- Masks will be mandatory in locations including but not limited to:
- Stores and retail businesses
- Personal services and salons
- Restaurants, except for while eating and drinking
- Arts, sports and recreation facilities, except during exercise
- Places of worship
- Government buildings
- Taxis and public transit
- Workplaces that are open to the public
Children under the age of two are exempted, as are people who have valid medical reasons such as active breathing problems, or cannot remove a mask without assistance.
P.E.I. previously lifted their mandatory mask restriction on July 9.
“We still remain in a very fortunate position here in Prince Edward Island. The steps we’ve taken will allow P.E.I. to stay open, to have our kids in school, our health services interrupted, to have family visiting loved ones in long-term care centres, and our ultimate goal is to stay open while keeping Islanders safe, and have as normal a life as we can have during this fourth wave of COVID-19 in our country,” said P.E.I. Premier Dennis King during Wednesday’s news update.