Prince Edward Island is prohibiting gatherings and closing schools for the next 72 hours, as well as enforcing stay-at-home measures to the fullest, as it deals with recent clusters of COVID-19 cases in Charlottetown and Summerside.
Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief public health officer, announced the fresh measures during a COVID-19 update late Sunday, terming it a “modified red alert” period.
5 new cases; 3 males and 2 females, were announced on Feb. 28.
Three are associated with outbreaks in Charlottetown and one with an outbreak in Summerside. The fifth individual has a recent history of travel outside the Atlantic provinces and is not connected to the others. Morrison said that as required, this individual reported for testing on arrival and then immediately started to self-isolate.
P.E.I now has 18 active cases and has identified a list of 190 close contacts of those involves “that continues to expand,” according to Morrison.
For the next 72 hours, household gatherings are not allowed, though a household can be associated with two persons for essential support reasons. In addition, those who stay alone can interact with one other household.
Organized gatherings are additionally not allowed, and funerals can only have a maximum of 10 participants.
Only essential businesses to remain open to public
Only essential businesses and services will continue to remain open to the public. These include medical and dental services, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, liquor stores, banks, and child care centers.
Businesses outside these areas can still run as long as they interact with customers online or by phone and arrange for contactless delivery or pickup. All recreational facilities will be shut down, including gyms.
Morrison urged anyone showing symptoms to get a COVID-19 test. She additionally said any person in the age bracket of 19-19 should get tested even if they are not showing symptoms, particularly if they work in the following fields:
- Foodservice industry.
- Meat and fish processing industry.
- Long-term care workers who are not vaccinated.
- Delivery drivers or public transit drivers.
- Call center workers.
“Community transmission is a possibility, and of course, we remain concerned,” she said.
Premier Dennis King said the origin of the recent cases is yet to be known. It has additionally not been determined if COVID-19 is being spread by coronavirus variants or the indigenous virus.
The fresh measures will assist the province “wrap our arms around the most recent outbreak,” King said.
“We are hoping the next few days will give us the time and data to help answer some of the many questions that we have and the many questions that you as Islanders have as well.”
King issued an impassioned plea for anyone who is unwell to stay at home and to avoid going to work.
“We don’t need work heroes,” he said. “We need you to be careful.”
He additionally urged employers to insist to employees that they should stay at home if they are feeling unwell and provide “supports” to make sure the message is clear.
Public exposure sites
Here is a list of newly announced places of potential public exposure as of Sunday evening. Anyone who has visited the sites within the times provided should self-isolate and get a test as soon as possible.
Dominos Pizza, Summerside: Feb. 15, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Burger King, Summerside: Feb. 18, 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
City bus 1, Charlottetown: Feb. 20, 4:30-5 p.m.
Brickhouse Kitchen and Bar, Charlottetown: Feb. 21, 2-3 p.m.
Gahan House, Charlottetown: Feb. 22, 8:30-10:30 p.m.
Taste of India, Charlottetown: Feb. 22, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Feb. 25, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Feb. 26, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Superstore, 465 University Ave, Charlottetown: Feb. 22, 6-9 p.m.; Feb. 24, 6:30-7 p.m.
Junco Market, Charlottetown: Feb. 24, 5-5:30 p.m.
Walmart in Charlottetown: Feb. 24, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Feb. 27, 2-2:30 p.m.
Christmas Discounters, Summerside: Feb. 25, noon-1 p.m.
Some other operations were affected by cases that were not part of Morrison’s exposure list. Earlier on Sunday, Red Shores Summerside said it would be closed until further notice after the P.E.I Chief Public Health Office informed it of “a potential exposure to COVID-19.”
A statement on the racetrack and casino’s website said Red Shores Charlottetown is not affected and will remain open while observing Morrison’s new prohibitions on capacity.
In addition, the Charlottetown-based office of Century 21 Colonial Realty said it would remain shut “for the next few days” because of an exposure related to COVID-19.
A post on Facebook said:
“The majority of our agents were not in the building during the timeframe of which we are required to contact trace.”
Reminder about symptoms
The symptoms of COVID-19 are but not limited to:
Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
Possible loss of taste and/or smell.
New or worsening fatigue.
Shortness of breath.