COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Thursday, March 26

P.E.I.'s chief public health officer has confirmed four new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total to nine. 

All four are men between the ages of 55 and 70 who travelled internationally and self-isolated upon their return.

In her first news briefing of the day, Dr. Heather Morrison said one of the original cases of COVID-19 in the province has recovered, but like everyone else, is still required to practise social distancing.

In New Brunswick, chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said a new confirmed case of COVID-19 on P.E.I. arrived at Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport on March 18 from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on Air Transat Flight TS2653.

Red Shores has temporarily laid off 220 casual, part-time and full-time employees after COVID-19 brought about the closure of the Charlottetown and Summerside locations.

Premier Dennis King spoke with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin from his home in self-isolation, which he has extended by a day.

The P.E.I. Firefighters Association is looking at ways to keep firefighters safe during the outbreak, while still going on medical calls.

A grocery store in Souris, P.E.I., has introduced COVID-19 screening measures at its entrance because of its proximity to the Souris ferry terminal, which connects P.E.I. and the Magdalen Islands. 

Steve Bruce/CBC

The Community Outreach Centre located at 211 Euston St. in Charlottetown has temporarily relocated to Birchwood Intermediate School. The larger space will allow for increased capacity for services for the city's most vulnerable, while adhering to public health recommendations like social distancing.

Some inmates at the Provincial Correctional Centre have been temporarily released, and weekend sentences are on hold. The measures were put in place because of concerns about COVID-19 getting into the jail.

The province is shutting down an addictions transition unit to make room for more hospital beds, in anticipation of increased demand. An 18-bed addictions transition unit at Mount Herbert has been closed. A recovering addict being released from the program is worried about a relapse.

P.E.I. businesses are struggling to carry on with so much uncertainty in the future.

P.E.I. charities are cancelling events, and that's having an impact on their ability to raise money.

Music P.E.I. is launching an online concert series. It is asking for donations to its Music P.E.I. Crisis Relief Fund, which will be used to pay the artists, who are facing financial difficulties because in-person concerts are shut down.

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Financial relief

  • The Charlottetown water and sewer utility is offering options for flexible payments to people suffering financial difficulties during the public health emergency.
  • The province's largest landlord, the P.E.I. Housing Corporation, will suspend evictions for six weeks, as of March 17. 
  • P.E.I. Education Minister Brad Trivers announced licensed daycare staff will be eligible for employment insurance. Grants and subsidies will continue for licensed daycares. The province will provide emergency child-care services to essential workers who have no other options. 

Health

  • Health PEI is restricting all visitors to its facilities except palliative care, intensive care, neonatal intensive care, obstetric and pediatric units. In these units, only one designated visitor is permitted — a member of the patient's immediate family or their care partner within the hospital.

  • Health PEI is rescheduling non-essential appointments, and said those affected will be contacted directly.

  • People who are ill or showing any symptoms of illness are being asked to call 811 and stay away from any P.E.I. health-care centres, unless they are seeking treatment. 

Education

  • UPEI and Holland College have essential personnel only on campus.

Travel

  • Any Islanders who have travelled out of province — whether experiencing symptoms or not — are required to self-isolate for 14 days following their return. This applies to people who have travelled internationally since March 8, and anyone who travelled to another province since March 21.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.