P.E.I.’s chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison has confirmed there are four more cases of COVID-19 in the province.
Morrison provided the latest update during a daily news conference early Thursday evening and said all of the people self-isolated upon returning to the province from travelling in either the U.S., Europe or the Caribbean.
The latest cases bring the total for P.E.I. to nine confirmed, although Morrison said earlier in the day that one of the infected people has since recovered.
Morrison said the latest cases are all men between the ages of 55 and 70 with two from Queens County and two from Prince County.
During an earlier daily briefing Thursday, Morrison said the person who recovered is out of self-isolation.
Morrison was quick to predict the situation will get worse before it gets better.
“I expect this number to grow here on P.E.I. in terms of our cases and our hospitalizations,’’ she said at her regular briefing Thursday.
As of Thursday, 556 tests were conducted with 339 negative results, the five positive cases, and 212 pending (persons under investigation).
“We continue to talk about the importance to flatten the curve and minimize the impact on our systems, on our families, on our communities and we will continue to talk about that every day,’’ said Morrison.
She began her briefing on a light note – drawing attention to her Holstein-themed black and white attire as a nod to having a calf named after her – before adopting her familiar calm but serious tone.
We were lucky enough to have these two little girls born last night, I think I’ll call them Heather & Marion tribute to our island health rockstars. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/3Sxet0DdS6— Bloyce Thompson (@BloyceThompson) March 25, 2020
Morrison said complaints about people not self-isolating are being addressed and she urged Islanders with concerns on this matter to contact the toll-free COVID-19 information line at 1-800-958-6400.
She once again addressed the importance of making liquor available to Islanders struggling with alcohol dependency.
“There has always been access to alcohol in P.E.I.,’’ she said.
“Agency stores and breweries remained open to ensure Islanders have access to alcohol so they could manage their disease safely.’’
Morrison reiterated her decision to close some of the government owned and operated liquor stores was done to allow government to put appropriate cautions in place for safety of staff and the public.
She says a close eye is being kept on Oak Tree Place liquor store in Charlottetown, which was re-opened Wednesday, to ensure safety is not being compromised.
Morrison is certainly not entertaining the thought of allowing the opening of businesses and services that have been shut down to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
“I think that we have actually been certainly getting more pressure on the other side to be very strict about what we would consider essential because people should be taking this seriously,’’ she said.
“It is a serious illness and businesses should be recognizing that. So, I think that it is really trying to make sure that we continue to have the businesses that are essential and the services that are essential continue to function in a safe way and those that are not essential it is the safest thing for all to keep them closed for now.’’