An outbreak of COVID-19 at a long-term care home in Moncton, N.B., is raising concerns about transmission of the virus inside the Atlantic bubble.
On Wednesday, officials in New Brunswick confirmed 17 new cases amid efforts to contain the outbreak at the Manoir Notre-Dame special care home in Moncton, where 13 residents, four staff and two family members tested positive. Officials also identified potential public exposure to the virus at the Moncton Costco Optical Centre and Moncton St-Hubert restaurant.
"We have lots of connections with New Brunswick, and the Moncton area, and it does raise concern for us here on Prince Edward Island," P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison told CBC News: Compass in an interview Thursday afternoon.
"At this time it is a concern, but [we are] watching carefully what is going on," she said.
P.E.I. currently has three active cases of COVID-19, and 58 recovered.
Changes to the bubble?
With Thanksgiving weekend approaching, Morrison said it has her thinking about public health measures and how careful people need to be
"I think New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. in particular will all be looking at whether or not we need to make any changes to the Atlantic bubble," Morrison said.
"At this point, I think we will be trying to make sure that anyone coming to the Island, whether they're visitors or Islanders returning for the weekend, are reminded that if they have any symptoms that they should be tested."
A news release issued late Thursday addressed how this reminder will be delivered: "Additional information will be distributed to everyone entering Prince Edward Island via the Confederation Bridge and the Wood Islands ferry to reinforce the need to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, follow public health measures and avoid large gatherings."
Think twice about travel
In the interview with CBC News: Compass, Morrison also urged people to think about whether they really need to travel, until officials know more about how the Moncton outbreak is going.
After Morrison spoke with CBC, officials in New Brunswick held a briefing and said there are three new cases in that province, although not related to the long-term care home. That brings the total number of active cases in that province to 24.
New Brunswick officials also announced wearing masks will be mandatory in most public spaces as of midnight.
The COVID Alert app is available to Islanders beginning Thursday, and Morrison urged Islanders to download it. She said it's one more tool officials can use to identify contacts and lessen the spread of the coronavirus.
"The more people who download the app, of course the more useful it will be," she said.
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