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Second case of COVID-19 confirmed on P.E.I.
HALIFAX -- A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed on Prince Edward Island.
Dr. Heather Morrison, chief health officer for P.E.I., confirmed the case during a news conference Thursday afternoon.
The latest confirmed case is a man in his 40s from Queens County. He returned home Monday after travelling in the United Kingdom.
Morrison says the man self-isolated upon returning to Canada, called 811 and got tested, and is now recovering at home
Morrison says 213 tests have been completed, with two positive cases and 122 negative cases.
The first confirmed test in P.E.I. was a woman in her 50s from the Queens County area who recently returned home after travelling on a cruise ship.
It was later revealed that the woman had travelled from Toronto to Moncton on March 7 on WestJet flight 3440.
“They had mild symptoms on that flight and New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are both making sure that not just those who were in the rows near that person, but everyone on that flight is aware," said Morrison during a news conference earlier this week.
Morrison said three other Islanders who had been on the cruise with the patient are in self-isolation and are reported to be doing well.
WestJet says passengers seated in rows 7 – 11 could especially be at risk, but all passengers who travelled on WestJet Flight 3440 from Toronto to Moncton on March 7 are advised to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms.
Prince Edward Island's self-assessment tool
Morrison said, effective Thursday, the island has a self-assessment tool online, which was created to help with the high volume of 811 calls.
"It's a tool people can use to find out if they need to call 811 and consider being tested… it's being used in a number of other places and we are going to have that available online today," said Morrison.
Morrison is also asking all businesses to determine if they are essential or non-essential, based on the criteria outlined by her earlier this week. She also advised business owners of a tool on the province’s website to help them determine if their business is considered an essential service.
Government-owned liquor store closures
After backlash regarding Morrison's announcement to close all 17 government-owned liquor stores as of 2 p.m. Thursday, she says there will still be ways for Islanders to purchase alcoholic beverages.
"We recognize that alcohol-use disorder, alcoholism, impacts many families on P.E.I., and alcohol withdrawal is a danger. So, we would never leave Islanders without access to alcohol for their own health," said Morrison.
"So, I think what I wasn't clear about yesterday, is that the liquor stores will close for in-store shopping of liquor this afternoon at 2 p.m., but the details around other access will be made available."
Morrison said this includes options like pick-up, delivery and drive-thru, which are all being explored.
She also wanted to reiterate the closure only affects the 17 government-owned liquor stores. The other agency stores and the breweries will remain open.
Morrison also apologized for how she approached the announcement of liquor store closures in a news conference on Wednesday, which caused large lineups at stores throughout the province.
Protecting fellow Islanders
"I'm asking islanders to have understanding, respect the self-isolation, respect the social-distancing, and do everything we can together to make sure that we don’t have the impacts that they're seeing in Italy and other parts of the world," said Morrison.
Islanders with health-related questions regarding COVID-19 should call P.E.I.’s toll-free information line at 1-800-958-6400. The information line is taking messages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and Islanders who leave messages will receive a call back from the Chief Public Health Office within 24 hours.
Tablets for Seniors
The Minister of Social Development and Housing, Ernie Hudson, says the island is donating $10,000 to help support seniors.
"The province of Prince Edward Island is donating $10,000 to the community foundation of Prince Edward Island to establish a fund to provide tablets to island seniors which will allow them to stay connected to friends and family during this isolation period," said Hudson.
Hudson also said the community foundation is accepting donations at this time. If you would like to participate you can visit the community foundation website, and go to the Tablets for Seniors Funds section.
Hudson said their immediate priority is to have tablets for long-term care and community care facilities.
"We recognize that personal connection and emotional support is essential as we go through these difficult times," said Hudson.