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UPDATE: P.E.I. stands down from COVID-19 red alert status

Dr. Heather Morrison, Prince Edward Island's chief public health officer, speaks during Wednesday's COVID-19 news briefing.
Dr. Heather Morrison, Prince Edward Island's chief public health officer, speaks during a COVID-19 news briefing on March 3, 2021. - Contributed
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —


Students are back in school Thursday as the province lifted its 72-hour red alert public health status on Wednesday.

At a COVID-19 media briefing, Premier Dennis King announced due to an aggressive amount of testing since the weekend – and what has been learned through that testing – the province was easing back into circuit breaker measures that were initially brought in on Saturday.

All of this is in connection to a cluster of recent positive cases that hit the Summerside and Charlottetown areas.

Since Saturday, public health has tested more than 11,000 Islanders which accounts for about seven per cent of P.E.I.’s population. There are still almost 800 tests pending.

“We have some comfort we are ready to ease safely back by moving out of the 72-hour red that we found ourselves in Sunday,’’ King said.

The return to circuit breaker measures was effective at midnight today and will be in place until 8 a.m. on March 14.

“We will continue to monitor things closely, continue to test and trace … as we work our way through this most recent outbreak.’’

At Wednesday’s briefing, Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief public health officer, said there is one new positive case – a woman in her 20s who is experiencing mild symptoms and is a close contact of a previously announced case. The woman is self-isolating.

That brings the number of active cases in P.E.I. to 22, the highest number of active cases the province has seen at any one time since public health measures were put in place almost a year ago.

The public health office moved to red alert status on Sunday following 17 new COVID-19 cases in five days.

“The purpose of the red alert allowed us time to determine the extent of the evolving outbreak (and) conduct widespread and targeted testing to interrupt transmission of COVID-19,’’ Morrison said.

“Until we knew more about the extent of the outbreak it was important to take steps to limit the movement and interaction between people.’’

Officials still haven’t been able to identify the source of this outbreak, but Morrison said they believe there is a link between the cluster of cases in Summerside and Charlottetown.

“We are not seeing unlinked cases, and there is no evidence of widespread community transmission.’’


Modified circuit breaker:


The following circuit breaker measures are now in effect and are scheduled to remain in effect until Sunday, March 14, at 8 a.m.:
• K-12 schools can open with usual public health measures in place.
• Each household can identify up to six consistent individuals that they gather with inside or outside.
• Organized gathering limits of 50 people can be held for concerts, worship services and movie theatres. No additional co-horts are  permitted.
• Weddings and funerals can permit up to 50 people plus officiants. No receptions are permitted.
• Supervised gyms or fitness facilities can operate at up to 50 per cent of standard operating capacity.
• Museums and libraries can operate at up to 50 per cent capacity.
• Rehearsals and individual team practices are permitted in accordance with gathering limits. Games, tournaments and competitions are not permitted.
• Retail stores, markets and craft fairs can operate at 50 per cent of standard operating capacity provided entrances and exits are monitored to ensure capacity is not exceeded.
• Personal services may operate on an appointment basis provided a non-medical mask is worn at all times by staff and patrons.
• Child-care centres may continue to operate at full capacity.
• Long-term care facilities continue to allow three partners in care and designated visitors.


Testing during the past few days has focused on those in the 14- to 29-year-old age group in the Summerside area. People were also tested in the following sectors: food service; transportation and delivery; call centres; fish processing and meat packing plants and those who work in long-term care who haven’t been vaccinated yet.

One of the test sites was Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside. King said the school was undergoing an extensive cleaning on Wednesday and will be ready for students today.

Morrison also announced two additional public exposure sites — Scotiabank, 274 Water St., Summerside, on Feb. 17 and 25, 2:30-4 p.m. and Feb. 18, 22 and 24, 1:30-3 p.m.; and Bombay Cuisine at 330 University Ave., Charlottetown, Saturday, Feb. 20, 6-7 p.m.

Anyone who was at either of those locations at the specified times needs to get tested and self-isolate until they get a negative result.


Other cases:

Here are the COVID-19 numbers from across the Atlantic region on Wednesday:
• Nova Scotia: three new cases, 30 active cases.
• New Brunswick: four new cases, 37 active cases.
• Newfoundland and Labrador: Three new cases, 149 active cases.


Posted by Prince Edward Island Government on Wednesday, 3 March 2021

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