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VIDEO: Dr. Heather Morrison says no COVID-19 at the North Pole

P.E.I. chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison provides an update on the coronavirus at 11:30 a.m.
P.E.I. chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison provides an update on the coronavirus at 11:30 a.m. - Computer screenshot

With thousands of tests completed in the last week, there are no new cases of COVID-19 in P.E.I.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison provided the update Tuesday morning during her regularly scheduled briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic.

An announcement on the future of the Atlantic bubble is coming later this week, said Morrison, as cases in Nova Scotia rose 300 per cent in the last week.

The news comes several days after Morrison announced a student at Charlottetown Rural High School tested positive for COVID-19.

Since then, there have been no new confirmed cases.

Morrison said she encourages all students and staff to download the COVID-19 alert mobile app.

P.E.I. has seen 72 confirmed cases since the pandemic began. There are currently four active cases on P.E.I. and all are recovering at home.

Case numbers in Atlantic Canada as of Tuesday morning:
P.E.I.: 4
New Brunswick: 120
Nova Scotia: 138
Newfoundland and Labrador: 36

More than 100 Islanders are in self-isolation after the two cases were announces on the weekend. Six are in self-isolation because they were close contacts with cases in other provinces.

During the briefing, Morrison also addressed the coming holiday season, saying it will be different this year. Morrison urged Islanders not to travel outside of P.E.I. for the holidays.

“Our actions over the next few weeks, especially over the holiday season, will determine what the remainder of our COVID-19 journey looks like,” said Morrison.

She said while everyone is working to stay in the “new normal” Islanders must be prepared for further restrictions to gatherings and access to services.

Anyone travelling or returning to P.E.I. after travel must submit a travel authorization pre-approval and plan to self-isolate for 14 days.

Already, 158 holiday pre-travel applications have been received and Morrison urges those planning to travel to P.E.I. to apply as soon as possible and state “holiday travel” or “Island resident” as the reason.

Knowing the number of travellers in advance will allow her team to plan for staffing and will expedite screening at the points of entry, said Morrison.

Same-day travel for essential reasons does not require 14-day self-isolate upon return.

Elf on the Shelf
Chief public health officer Heather Morrison said she received a special alert Tuesday morning that there is no COVID-19 at the North Pole. Pre-approved travel has been received for Santa and his elves to come to P.E.I., she said.
“Your special elf and everyone else at the North Pole are protected from getting sick from COVID-19, however Santa is reminding every elf to remain at least six feet from everyone and to pay extra attention to washing their hands,” she said.

New Year’s Day levees, an annual tradition in P.E.I. where a lot of people gather together in close quarters, are not recommended to ring in 2021, said Morrison.

Anyone who decides to proceed with a levee must submit an operational plan and respect all public health measures.

Addressing the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine, Morrison said Health Canada has received submissions for vaccines.

It will take time to have everyone in P.E.I. vaccinated and the province will follow national recommendations for priority groups.

Morrison said that when dates of arrival of the vaccine and the number coming to P.E.I. are available the public will be notified.

P.E.I. is expected to receive small amounts of the vaccine initially, likely within the next month, Morrison said.

Marion Dowling, head of nursing for P.E.I., reminded those listening in on the briefing that hospitals and other health-care facilities are prepared to handle medical appointments safely.

“Receiving the health care that they (health-care providers) have arranged for you is important and we do need to look after other aspects of our health,” said Dowling.

People are still able to bring a support person with them to appointments as long as that person hasn’t travelled outside the province, said Dowling.


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