P.E.I. high school student tests positive for COVID-19; exposure sites named

·3 min read

P.E.I. has its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced Saturday.

The male student goes to Charlottetown Rural High School.

It is one of two cases announced. The other case is a male between the ages of 10 and 19 who is not a student on P.E.I. He flew to P.E.I. on Thursday on Air Canada Flight 7462 from Toronto.

The cases are unrelated, Morrison said. Both people have mild symptoms and are isolating at home. Close contacts have been notified and will be tested.

The testing clinics in Charlottetown and Slemon Park will be open until 8 p.m. Saturday, Morrison said. A temporary clinic has been set up Stratford Town Hall and will be open until 8 p.m.

Morrison said there are two exposure sites: Wendy's restaurant on University Avenue in Charlottetown on Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Needs Convenience Store on St. Peters Road on Thursday from 9:30-11 p.m.

Travelled on school bus

The student travelled to school by bus on Thursday. The buses are No. 3 and 23 to school, and 23 home from school. All staff at the school are being asked to get tested.

Ken Linton/CBC
Ken Linton/CBC

The student also plays hockey with the Sherwood Midget A Central Team 2. Teams that were in close contact with the positive case have been contacted and have temporarily suspended activities.

Morrison said more information will be shared as the contact tracing and testing continues.

I can appreciate that this news is concerning and overwhelming for students, parents and our school community. — Dr. Heather Morrison

"I can appreciate that this news is concerning and overwhelming for students, parents and our school community," she said. "This is also a time for all of us, as parents, teachers and community leaders to work together to support our children students, staff and each other."

Premier Dennis King said it is too early to make any decisions on school closures next week. But he did address the younger generation specifically at the briefing on Saturday.

Ken Linton/CBC
Ken Linton/CBC

"I know very much that you are a social group and I know this virus has forced you to change many of your habits, change how you interact and who you interact with, and I know that that is maddening and it is frustrating and it feels as if you're being cheated of many of the things that make being a young Islander special," he said.

"It's been hard on all of you. But you have been amazing through all this.… I just need to continue to ask you and all Islanders to dig just a little bit deeper."

Testing encouraged

King said he is proud of young Islanders, but reminded them they are not immune and urged them to get tested if they experience symptoms.

"It's OK for you to miss a day at school or a practice or a game or a social event."

P.E.I. has three new cases in the last four days. Before Saturday, the last case was announced Wednesday, along with three possible exposure sites.

On Thursday, the province said all contact tracing to date had come back negative.

P.E.I. has opted out of the Atlantic bubble until at least Dec. 7, meaning anyone who travels to and from the province must self-isolate for 14 days.

P.E.I. has seen a total of 72 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations. Four cases are active.

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