As P.E.I. moves into the early days of suspending its part in the Atlantic bubble, chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says there are no new cases of COVID-19 in the province.
Morrison provided the update during her weekly briefing on the pandemic Tuesday morning, which came the day after announcing the temporary move out of the Atlantic bubble.
Morrison said there has been a 30 per cent increase in cases across the country last week including an uptick in Atlantic Canada.
There are 23 active cases in Newfoundland, 89 in New Brunswick and 51 in Nova Scotia with community spread. ther is one active case in P.E.I.
“COVID-19 may be around our province and it is likely P.E.I. will have cases related to the public exposures and outbreaks elsewhere in Atlantic Canada,” said Morrison.
Morrison clarified some measures that have been put in place since suspending the bubble.
Essential travel includes medical and dental appointments, court appearances, compassionate visitation, specialized animal care, shared child custody and delivery of goods.
Anyone coming to work on P.E.I. is still welcome, they must apply for pre-travel approval and will be automatically approved to work-isolate.
Truck drivers who do day trips in Atlantic Canada and come home at night do not need to self-isolate. Other truck drivers must register as rotational workers and will be eligible to work-isolate.
Students at universities and colleges in Atlantic Canada can be picked up, even while the bubble is suspended. The trip must take less than 24 hours, both parties must wear masks and sit as far from each other as possible in the vehicle. The student arriving home must self-isolate for 14 days and the driver must closely monitor for symptoms.
Morrison said she is urging Islanders to not travel off Island this holiday season and to find other ways to connect with family who live away.
“It will not be like this forever, we hope for only this year,” she said.
Celebrating with people outside immediate household brings risks, Morrison said, and she urged people to keep gatherings as small as possible. She also encouraged compassion for each other.
“This can be a stressful time for many people. Please take care of your mental health and look out for your friends and neighbours over the upcoming holidays,” said Morrison.
Morrison added a note from Nova Scotia that anyone who worked in a licensed establishment or went to a bar or restaurant after 10 p.m. in the last two weeks in Halifax should get tested for COVID-19.
FINISH LINE IN SIGHT
A safe and effective vaccine will likely arrive in Canada in the first quarter of 2021, said Morrison. The vaccines will be manufactured by several different companies and will be mostly be two-dose immunizations.
P.E.I. will be following the national recommendations for priority groups to receive immunizations, she said.
“Knowing that some Islanders will be immunized for COVID-19 in early 2021 is like a beacon of hope for all of us,” said Morrison. “It signals that the finish line - though off in the distance - is in sight.”
Posted by Prince Edward Island Government on Tuesday, 24 November 2020
More to come.