While there are no new cases of coronavirus on P.E.I., the province's chief public health officer says the second wave of COVID-19 has been described as a “firestorm” in other parts of the world.
In response to the second wave, Dr. Heather Morrison and Premier Dennis King announced a mandatory mask policy for indoor public spaces will being Friday in P.E.I. Adjustments to other public health precautions will roll out in the coming days.
“I am pleading with Islanders and visitors to P.E.I. today to follow the public health measures. Our individual and collective actions are critically important especially over the next few weeks,” said Morrison.
Canada had almost 32,000 new cases diagnosed in the last week, Morrison said. That’s an average of around 4,500 new cases each day. As of Monday night, New Brunswick had 28 active cases and Nova Scotia had 23.
“As a country, we are not yet bending the COVID-19 curve associated with this second wave of the virus,” said Morrison.
Premier King echoed this concern.
“Things outside of our provincial borders and outside of our Atlantic bubble are hitting a critical point,” said King. “The daily average case counts in our country is now double what it was in the first wave.”
A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS
Morrison said with the country in a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, she does not recommend travel over the holidays either to or from P.E.I.
Addressing students in P.E.I. who are from outside the province, Morrison said the best option for them is to stay where they are and not travel home for the holidays.
Anyone with plans to travel to P.E.I. during the holiday season must apply for travel pre-approval by Dec. 1. Travellers must plan to self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive on P.E.I.
“I would recommend Islanders not travel off-Island unless it’s absolutely necessary,” said Morrison.
Premier King agreed.
“You do not need to go Christmas shopping in Moncton,” he said. “We have tremendous stores here on Prince Edward Island that you have been supporting and we need you to continue to support here… we need you to understand as Islanders what is a need versus a want here, especially for these next six to eight weeks.”
Since all of P.E.I.’s cases have been related to travel and nearly one-third of patients were traveling for work, there has been an update to requirements for rotational workers who return to the Island.
Morrison said rotational workers must avoid entering public places until their 14-day isolation period is complete. They will continue to be tested three times during self-isolation.
Rotational workers who return to P.E.I. also should not visit or host people from outside their households during that period.
Rotational workers will be able to spend time with their family, go for walks off their property and attend necessary medical and dental appointments. They may use drive-thru or contactless services only.
VISITING DYING LOVED ONES
Also at the Tuesday briefing, P.E.I.’s head of nursing Marion Dowling updated guidelines for people coming to P.E.I. from outside the Atlantic bubble to visit loved ones at the end of life.
These visitors must have permission from the province and the long-term care facility. They must have a negative COVID-19 test result before arriving on P.E.I. and must arrange to be tested three times during the first 14 days. Visitors must also self-isolate for the first 14-days while not with their loved one.
While visiting their loved one, visitors must wear full personal protective equipment including mask, gown and gloves. They may not move around the facility, use the washrooms or eat in the facility’s meal areas. These visitors will be allowed to see their loved one more than once during their stay on P.E.I.