P.E.I. reports three new COVID-19 cases Monday; travel from outside Atlantic Canada suspended for four weeks
HALIFAX -- Prince Edward Island is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as officials announced several new measures to tighten the province's borders.
During a news update on Monday, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said all three new cases are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada and involve:
- An individual in their 30s who had travelled from outside of Atlantic Canada and was a close contact of a previously reported case.
- Two people in their 20s.
All three new cases are now self-isolating.
P.E.I. also reported three new cases on Sunday, involving a child under 10, an individual in their 30s, and an individual in their 50s.
Morrison says the child under 10 has been admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. According to Morrison, the child had been self-isolating since arriving on P.E.I., and there are no exposures to any schools or child care facilities.
P.E.I. health also announced Sunday that the Island's first patient hospitalized due to COVID-19, reported Friday, has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
"In the last week we've had eight travel related cases. This is higher than we experienced in the post-holiday period and early January," said Morrison during Monday's update.
Morrison says that four of the P.E.I.'s recent cases have been confirmed as the B.1.1.7 variant strain, first identified in the United Kingdom.
"Given the increase in COVID-19 variant cases, elsewhere in Canada and the Atlantic region, is not surprising to learn that B.1.1.7 is becoming increasingly prevalent in P.E.I.," said Morrison. "We know the variants are more transmissible and can result in more severe illness."
P.E.I. currently has 13 active cases of COVID-19. To date, the province has had 173 positive cases of the novel coronavirus, with 160 now considered recovered.
TRAVEL FROM OUTSIDE ATLANTIC CANADA SUSPENDED
Effective immediately, travellers from outside of Atlantic Canada will not be allowed to travel to P.E.I. for at least four weeks.
During Monday's update, Dr. Morrison announced several changes to P.E.I.'s travel restrictions including.
- Seasonal residents from outside of Atlantic Canada are advised to defer their travel until at least May 17.
- New pre-travel applications for seasonal residents from outside of Atlantic Canada will be processed, but will not be allowed to arrive until after May 17.
- Family connection stream for seasonal residents also paused.
- Rotational workers from outside of Atlantic Canada will need pre-travel approval, agree to be tested every second day, and will be required to self-isolate until they receive a negative COVID-19 test.
- Travel to P.E.I. for compassion reasons will be processed on a necessary basis.
- Increased testing at the Borden and Charlottetown airports.
“These measures will give us more time to immunize more Islanders against COVID-19,” said Morrison on Monday. “They are intended to further reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19 and lower the likelihood that people come here and can get sick with COVID-19, putting additional strain on our healthcare resources.”
"Though we have some of the strictest borders in the country, we will try to tighten them up a little bit more," said Premier Dennis King on Monday. "It is our hope to limit the importation of the virus to our province, allowing us to maintain the standards of life that we have been enjoying in our province, which is the envy of the country."
There are no changes for residents of Atlantic Canada, who will can travel to P.E.I. but must self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.
"I know these measures are not what people want to hear," added Morrison. "We would much rather hear about what we can do to open up our province for the spring, and welcome and visit with family and friends off-island."
P.E.I. CONSIDERING ASSISTANCE FOR ONTARIO
During Monday's update, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said his government will 'try to do what they can' to assist Ontario.
"Both Premier Ford and Prime Minister Trudeau know that our health human resources on P.E.I. are not over abundance. Both respect and appreciate that our first priority is do everything that we can to help the health and safety of Islanders. But we will try to do our part," said King.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on the Premiers of Atlantic Canada to help Ontario fight their third wave of COVID-19.
“Yesterday I spoke with Premier Furey from Newfoundland, Premier King from P.E.I. and Premier Rankin from Nova Scotia,” said Trudeau in a video posted to Twitter on Sunday, as hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units continue to reach record heights in Ontario.
King says he expects that by later Monday, he will have more details on what that assistance could look like.
“It would be very easy, given all that we’ve been through and all that we continue to face, to revert to a protectionist instinct. To develop an us versus them mentality. But that’s not who we are as Prince Edward Islanders,” said King. “In the face of great difficulty and uncertainty, we have been asked to do a little bit to help, and we are trying very hard to respond to that request.”
King added that P.E.I. has not been asked to send vaccines yet, and their priority remains getting Islanders vaccinated as quickly as possible.
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.