COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island raises questions about easing border rules

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CHARLOTTETOWN – Confirmation of an eighth new case of COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island last week could delay easing of border restrictions, the province’s chief medical officer of health said Monday. Dr. Heather Morrison said the latest cases are not the result of seasonal visitors to the province or the so-called Atlantic bubble, which the four provinces opened on July 3 to allow travel to the region.

“But this situation raises questions about the possibility of the Canadian bubble,” Morrison said at a press conference.

“Although at the end of the day it was not my decision, I think it would be premature today to consider further relaxation of our border restrictions and to encourage wider travel. ”

The last case is a man in his 40s who works in the emergency room at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. Morrison said he tested positive on Sunday evening after being identified by contact tracing in another case.

She said the health worker contacted an 80-year-old woman from Queen County who went to the hospital by ambulance on July 4.

Morrison said the woman had no symptoms of COVID-19 when she was in the hospital and was not tested. She had no contact with anyone in the waiting room. She underwent diagnostic tests and was then brought home by her family.

Morrison said the woman’s symptoms got worse on Saturday and she called 811 and was tested. The results came back positive on Sunday.

“This is a difficult and worrying situation,” said Morrison on Monday. “The increase in the number of contacts, both for patients and staff, allows for a broader and more complex response. ”

Morrison stated that the healthcare worker had traveled to a Canadian destination outside the Atlantic provinces and returned to work on July 4 after a negative test for COVID-19.

“Essential health workers who travel to or arrive from elsewhere in Canada have been able to work as long as they are tested immediately before going to work and wearing appropriate protective equipment,” she said.

Morrison did not want to clarify the role of the person in the emergency department, but he did seven shifts between July 4 and 11.

She said 100 patients and 125 staff members have been identified as contacts and will be tested.

“I encourage anyone who was in the emergency service of the HEQ between July 4 and July 11 to be patient and calm. Everyone who went to the emergency department during this time will not need to be tested, ”said Morrison.

She said that anyone who flew on WestJet Flight 654 from Toronto to Charlottetown on July 2 should call 811 or their family doctor about the tests.

She said he hoped the spread to patients and hospital staff was limited.

Prince Edward Island now has 35 cases of COVID-19, of which 27 are considered recovered.

Morrison said, now more than ever, she implores Islanders and visitors to the province to pay attention to public health measures, including hand washing, physical distance and wearing a mask when physical distance does not exist. is not possible.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 13, 2020.

– By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.

Correction:

This is a corrected story. A previous version indicated that the worker had been infected by the patient.

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