4 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed on P.E.I.

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'We are reassured, we know there's a link to travel outside the province,' Dr. Heather Morrison says of four new cases of COVID-19 announced Friday.  (CBC - image credit)
'We are reassured, we know there's a link to travel outside the province,' Dr. Heather Morrison says of four new cases of COVID-19 announced Friday. (CBC - image credit)

Prince Edward Island has diagnosed four more people with COVID-19 including a male under 19 who is involved in minor sports, the Chief Public Health Office said late Friday.

Exactly one month before a planned reopening of the Atlantic bubble, the Island now has eight active cases of the respiratory illness.

The new cases involve:

  • A man in his 20s who travelled from outside Atlantic Canada, and self-isolated as required.

  • A man in his 30s who travelled from outside Atlantic Canada and tested positive after an initial negative test result.

  • Two close contacts of the man in his 30s: a woman in her 30s and a male under 19.

"We are reassured, we know there's a link to travel outside the province," Morrison said in an interview with CBC News: Compass.

Morrison estimates more than 30 close contacts of the cases are being called now by public health officials and told to self-isolate immediately.

The male under 19 was a player on a minor sports team, and had close contact with his team. All his teammates and coaches are being contacted for testing and monitoring, and being told to self-isolate.

"I'm hopeful that we were able to identify these cases fairly quickly and early," and therefore exposure to others will be minimal, Morrison said.

The CPHO said there is one public exposure site: Stretch Fitness in Summerside, between 8:50 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Anyone who was at the facility during this time should get tested on Saturday, March 20 and again on Tuesday, March 23 and Sunday, March 28 and monitor closely for symptoms, according to the CPHO. The office said these individuals do not need to self-isolate, but do need to follow public health measures.

The gym posted a message to its members on Facebook Friday afternoon saying it would be closing at 4 p.m. for 48 hours for a deep cleaning. The club said a member had been at the club this morning, feeling no symptoms, before receiving a positive COVID-19 test.

Word of the new cases came one day after the Atlantic premiers said they expected to allow freer travel within the region by April 19 with the resumption of the Atlantic bubble — contingent on cases remaining low and outbreaks controlled.

Earlier Friday, Nova Scotia's government went a step further, saying it was opening its border to New Brunswick as of Saturday morning, with drivers entering Nova Scotia not having to isolate for two weeks. Nova Scotia already allows drivers from P.E.I. to enter the province without having to self-isolate.

"This is why we are paying attention and we are following these processes, so we go slowly and cautiously into any Atlantic bubble," Morrison said.

A total of five new COVID-19 cases were reported in the other three Atlantic provinces on Friday: three in Nova Scotia, two in New Brunswick, and none in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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