10 new COVID-19 cases for P.E.I., with 9 tied to Charlottetown school outbreak

·3 min read
Dr. Heather Morrison's office announced a total of 10 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. (CBC - image credit)
Dr. Heather Morrison's office announced a total of 10 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. (CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, nine of which are related to the outbreak at West Royalty Elementary.

The province's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison had originally said at a briefing at 1 p.m. that three of the cases linked to the West Royalty outbreak are children under 10 and four are between the ages of 10 and 19.

Three new cases were announced in statements later on Thursday; two are connected to the West Royalty outbreak and involve children between the ages of 10 and 19.

One of these two cases is a student at École La-Belle-Cloche in Souris who attended school on Thursday, according to a statement issued at 6 p.m. AT. In order to allow for contact tracing, the school will be closed Friday.

"All students, teachers, and staff who are identified as close contacts will be contacted directly by public health for isolation and testing instructions," the statement said. "Close contacts of this case will be asked to get tested on Monday, September 20 at the Charlottetown Testing Clinic (64 Park St.) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or at the Montague Testing Clinic (14 Rosedale Rd.) between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m."

Extensive cleaning at the school will be completed over the weekend, the Chief Public Health Office said in its statement.

Cohorting returns for all schools

As a result of the deepening outbreak, all English and French schools on P.E.I. are now moving back to cohorting as well as masking for students in Grades 4 through 12, the statement said.

The other case announced Thursday is unrelated to the West Royalty outbreak. It's an individual in their 60s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada, according to a release issued after the early-afternoon briefing. Contact tracing is complete, and the individual is self-isolating.

The province now has 37 active cases, the highest since the pandemic began.

Morrison said at the briefing that the first seven individuals connected to the West Royalty outbreak had initially tested negative for the disease, adding that the results highlight the importance of repeat testing.

"It is worrisome of course that so may of the cases initially tested negative and tested positively on repeat testing," she said. "But we certainly know this can happen and it's happened throughout the pandemic."

The province also announced a public exposure notification related to one of the cases:

  • Toys R Us (at 201 Buchanan Drive in Charlottetown) on Monday, Sept. 13 between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Classes to resume

Morrison said classes at West Royalty will resume Monday for people who aren't currently self-isolating.

However, the province will establish a pop-up clinic on Friday for students and partially or unvaccinated staff at the school who do not have symptoms. Morrison says students who have been contacted by public health or have symptoms should not go to the clinic.

Student or staff members with symptoms are asked to go to the Park Street clinic to get tested.

The province is asking all other West Royalty students to be tested Friday, even if they tested negative earlier this week.

The clinic will be open between 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Children in Grades 4-6 should go between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. K-3 students should go from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30.

Children from the same family can attend the clinic at the same time.

On Wednesday, the province announced it was reinstating indoor and public space mask requirements amid the outbreak. It is also limiting personal gatherings to 20 people.

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