Province confirms 3 new cases of COVID-19

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Prince Edward Island chief public health officer Dr Heather Morrison has confirmed there are three new cases of COVID-19 in the province.Morrison said the new cluster of cases involved three men, two in their 30s and one in their 40s.

These are core “same industry” workers who came to Prince Edward Island from outside the country two weeks ago.

The public health official said during his briefing on Tuesday that the newly announced cases are not linked to the other cluster of five cases announced last week; she added that four of those patients have now recovered.

Morrison also said the new cases are unrelated to the health care field; the Canadian Premier League, which currently plays on the island; or Atlantic bubble travel.

Traveled on AC626 on August 5th

The newly diagnosed men traveled on Air Canada flight AC626 from Toronto to Halifax on August 5.

Passengers on this flight are advised to watch for symptoms similar to COVID-19.

Morrison said the men did not take public transportation on their way from Halifax to the island and went into self-isolation upon arrival.

Passengers on the Air Canada flight are being asked to watch for symptoms similar to COVID-19 and to call 811 for testing if symptoms develop. (Roger Cosman / CBC)

“It’s really important that we share the information we share about cases, while trying to respect confidentiality,” she said when asked if the men were temporary foreign workers.

Morrison said his office learned of the cases on Monday and public health nurses completed the contact tracing process.

“Despite four active cases in the province, the risk of transmitting the virus to islanders is low,” she said.

More will be allowed at events

After announcing the new cases, Morrison said it is now possible for three cohorts of 50 people each to come together for an event at the same location on Prince Edward Island.

This is subject to government approval of an operational plan ensuring physical distancing. On the one hand, the three cohorts must be separated from each other in the same building, with their own toilets and exits.

Singing in public will now also be allowed at a distance of two meters, provided masks are worn.

Morrison said the new measures will allow for larger church gatherings and sporting events. Beyond that, she said easing restrictions will depend more on the situation in the province.

St. Dunstan’s Basilica has rope sections to help people distance themselves socially when given the chance to attend church. Today’s announcement triples the collection limit, allowing three cohorts of 50. (Steve Bruce / CBC)

“The new reopening of our province depends on the low community prevalence of COVID-19 … in the future, our approach will be flexible and agile, adapting to the prevalence of COVID-19 in our province”, she said declared.

“Our history over the past five to six months should give confidence in our ability to adapt and respond to issues related to COVID-19. ”

Morrison also said they were eager to increase the number of visits for people in long-term care and give families more opportunities to connect.

No Canadian bubble anytime soon

“By October, our plan would be to relax measures to a point that will represent a new standard until Islanders have access to an effective vaccine,” Morrison said.

Morrison said she imagines the “new normal” will always include the wearing of masks, continued border control at points of entry and increased capacity for tracing and contact tracing. It would also include self-isolation for those arriving from outside of Canada and the Atlantic bubble.

“At this point, I do not plan to enter a Canadian bubble without the obligation of self-isolation, in the weeks to come,” said the director of public health.

Morrison added that she doesn’t think a vaccine will be available until 2021 – or maybe later.

During Tuesday’s briefing, Morrison said she does not plan to open Prince Edward Island to the rest of Canada in the near future. (John Robertson / CBC)

Prime Minister Dennis King was also present at the briefing, but made no remarks.

The new cases bring the total number of COVID-19 cases in the province to 44, with 40 people classified as recovered.

Prince Edward Island has not had any deaths or hospitalizations from COVID-19.

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