Outbreaks at 2 long-term care facilities, 9 child-care centres announced by P.E.I. CPHO

·4 min read
Dr. Heather Morrison says six hospitalizations are 'manageable.' (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Dr. Heather Morrison says six hospitalizations are 'manageable.' (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada - image credit)

P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said there are outbreaks at nine child-care facilities on the Island as well as outbreaks at two long-term or community-care facilities at a news briefing on Tuesday.

Morrison said seven of the child-care centres are closed Tuesday, and the Chief Public Health Office is working with the sector on outbreak guidance.

An outbreak was declared at the Garden Home long-term care facility, as two residents tested positive for COVID-19. Morrison said further testing at the home will take place Tuesday, and visitation to the facility is restricted to one partner in care per resident.

On Saturday, an outbreak was reported at Miscouche Villa. Eight of the 27 residents have tested positive along with six staff members. All residents are doing well and receiving care in the community, Morrison said.

At the briefing, Morrison said there was also an outbreak at the Provincial Correctional Centre involving four staff members and an offender who had all tested positive. In a later interview with CBC News, Minister of Justice Bloyce Thompson said that number had increased to six staff at the facility.

"Out of an abundance of caution, effective this morning, all in-person visitation has been suspended, however offenders can still access services and legal counsel by phone or video conferencing, and loved ones can also contact offenders in the same way," the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Morrison also said there are five cases within a population that regularly accesses shelters and outreach centres in Charlottetown, which has been declared an outbreak, She said directions around masks and rapid testing has been given to community service providers.

6 in hospital

Morrison said there are six people in hospital, up from five on Monday. One person is in intensive care.

At the briefing, Morrison announced 304 new cases of COVID-19 and 127 recoveries on P.E.I. bringing the Island to 1,694 active cases.

The tunnel ahead of us is definitely shorter than the one behind us. — Dr. Heather Morrison

The province is averaging 190 cases per day over the last seven days.

Morrison said the Omicron variant is "very much like a brand new phase" of the pandemic.

"We are expecting to see cases rise in the next couple of weeks. All the things we are trying to do is to minimize how high that peak is," she said.

P.E.I. is able to manage its current amount of hospitalizations, however, as cases rise and hospitalizations increase, it would "cause a strain" on health-care staff, Morrison said.

Morrison remains optimistic about the Island's capability of dealing with the Omicron variant, due to a high adult vaccination rate and COVID-19 measures in place.

Government of P.E.I.
Government of P.E.I.

"We have 95.7 per cent of people over 12 who've had one dose. We have a Vax Pass in place, we have a test or vaccinate policy for people in vulnerable sectors. I think we're doing all the things we can to protect the population as a whole and we'll continue to do that," she said.

"The tunnel ahead of us is definitely shorter than the one behind us."

Not the time to let guard down

P.E.I Premier Dennis King said now is not the time for the province to let its guard down.

"As much as we are eager to be done with this, it is not done with us," he said. "Until it's done with us, we have to put the shoulder on the wheel, keep doing what we're doing and try to get through this."

Undermining the effects of the Omicron variant is very risky, King said.

"There are cases where people are getting really sick and need medical attention, and the more people who test positive the more people who may need medical attention."

The science will tell when the province can safely go back to normal, King said.

"Until we know that, it will be tough to make unilateral decisions to get back to normal," he said.

"This will never be about trying to be popular or trying to appease one's views or thoughts, it's about health. It's always been about and will continue to be about health."

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