All tests negative so far at 3 possible Charlottetown COVID-19 exposure sites

·3 min read

Contact tracing is underway at three potential COVID-19 exposure sites in Charlottetown — the Atlantic Superstore, Gahan House pub and Terra Rossa restaurant and so far, all tests have come back negative.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in an unscheduled briefing Wednesday that P.E.I. had one new case of COVID-19, a woman in her 20s who had recently travelled within Atlantic Canada.

Morrison said anyone who was at the Atlantic Superstore at 465 University Ave. in Charlottetown Monday between 3 and 4 p.m., at Terra Rossa Saturday between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. or at Gahan House between 9 and 11 p.m. Saturday should monitor themselves closely for symptoms and get tested if any develop.

All tests results related to those recent potential exposures are negative thus far, a news release late Thursday afternoon from the province said. In the release, Morrison thanked the three sites for their co-operation and for following the rules.

The woman and her close contacts — people in her household, those she went out to eat with, or close work colleagues —remain in self-isolation for 14 days, Morrison said.

'Exactly the way it should go'

"Within hours, we were on top of it," Gahan House owner Kevin Murphy said of the incident.

Travis Kingdon/CBC
Travis Kingdon/CBC

Staff working at the time have been tested, and the pub handed over its handwritten sign-in sheets including names and phone numbers of all patrons there after 9 p.m. to public health officials so they can be contacted for testing. Murphy said his restaurants keep such contact sheets on file for a few weeks.

"It's all going to plan and exactly the way it should go," Murphy said.

As soon as staff receive a negative test, Murphy said they may return to work.

'There is an impact to business'

Enhanced cleaning has been underway since the pandemic began, Murphy said, and Thursday morning there was an "extra emphasis on cleaning" at the pub.


Terra Rossa has also ramped up its cleaning, doing a full deep clean of the restaurant Thursday, said Bill Pratt, CEO of Chef Inspired group of restaurants, which operates Terra Rossa.

Pratt said the restaurant is doing everything it can to make sure its staff and customers are safe.

Murphy said he is not surprised or upset about the incident.

"This probably was expected and there may be more of it — hopefully not," Murphy said, adding he has noticed people tend to stay home after there is news of rising COVID cases.

"There's no question there is an impact to business. The last nine months has been a little bit of a roller-coaster, but we're dealing with it," he said.

In an interview with CBC News: Compass Thursday, Morrison explained how officials decided potential exposure sites.

"When we have a case, we talk to them about when they start developing symptoms, even mild symptoms, then we go back 48 hours from the onset of symptoms," Morrison said, adding most of the time, the virus is transmitted after a person becomes symptomatic.

Evidence suggests the woman contracted COVID-19 outside P.E.I., Morrison said.

On Monday, P.E.I. announced it would be leaving the Atlantic bubble due to a rise in cases in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

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