COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Monday, March 23

In a news briefing Monday afternoon, P.E.I. chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison continued to stress self-isolation and social distancing, and said the system is preparing for an increase in cases.

In a second briefing at 5 p.m., Morrison was joined by Premier Dennis King and Bloyce Thompson, attorney general and minister of justice and public safety, as they announced a "strict" fine structure for those found to be in violation of the self-isolation orders.

Under P.E.I.'s Public Health Act, chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison will have the ability to issue orders, King said. 

Fines start at $1,000 for the first offence, $2,000 for the second offence and $10,000 for the third and subsequent offences.

Thompson urged Islanders not to call 911 if they knew of people violating self-isolation directions, and to instead phone 1-800-958-6400.

CBC

A third case of COVID-19 was confirmed in P.E.I., Dr. Heather Morrison said in a news briefing Sunday evening. Morrison said the case is a Queens County woman in her 20s who returned from Spain.

On March 16, the woman flew from Toronto to Moncton, N.B., on WestJet Flight 3456, departing Toronto at 8:35 a.m. and arriving in Moncton at 12:05 p.m. All passengers on that flight are being asked to self-isolate. New COVID-19 screening measures are in place at the Confederation Bridge, Charlottetown Airport and Souris ferry terminal.

She also said anyone entering P.E.I. as of March 21 from anywhere in the world, including other parts of Canada, should self-isolate for 14 days. Exceptions will be made for individuals who are considered essential workers.

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  • Enhanced screening measures, including checkpoints at the Confederation Bridge, Charlottetown Airport and Souris ferry terminal are in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Financial relief

  • The province's largest landlord, the P.E.I. Housing Corporation, will suspend evictions for six weeks. 
  • 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 said it will restrict 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. 

Schools, colleges and university

  • 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. Screening checkpoints are set up at the Confederation Bridge, Charlottetown airport and Souris ferry terminal.

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.