Morrison holds COVID-19 briefing at midday –

P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison has announced four new cases of COVID-19, including a female in her 20s and three males, two in their 20s and one in his 30s, all living in the Charlottetown area.

None travelled recently outside the province, Morrison said at a COVID-19 briefing in Charlottetown Monday.

The four are all close contacts of the seven positive cases announced on the weekend, all women, whose diagnoses led to exposure alerts for places such as Walmart on Buchanan Drive, and A&W, Wendy’s and Dollarama in the Charlottetown Mall area. 

The source of that outbreak is still not known. 

P.E.I. now has 14 active cases, and 84 cases total since the outbreak began. 

Acting ‘hard, fast and early’

“I continue to be worried about what is happening with COVID-19 in our province,” Morrison said. “If we do not act now, it may take us longer to recover and we may have more devastating impacts.

“It’s important to do it hard, fast, early.”

Among the new restrictions that took effect today: No visitors will be permitted at Health PEI locations including hospitals, although patients may designate a Partner in Care, said P.E.I. Chief Nurse Marion Dowling.

Exceptions are being made for Islanders at the end of their lives. Newborns may have more than one parent.

We are “encouraging everyone to stay united by staying apart,” said P.E.I. Premier Dennis King. “I think Islanders are eager to do their part and we certainly appreciate that.” 

More help being announced

The province said there will be another update with P.E.I. Minister of Social Development and Housing Ernie Hudson and Tourism Minister Matthew MacKay later today.

The lineup for COVID-19 testing in Charlottetown was long Monday morning. (Laura Meader/CBC)

He said they will have details of extra financial help for those most impacted by the new health restrictions, out of a pot of emergency funding included in the spring budget for COVID-19 contingency planning.

Meanwhile, the CPHO is working with Holland College to set up clinics at the college’s Charlottetown campus — a walk-in testing site for people who don’t have cars.

People getting tested can take transit as long as they don’t have symptoms, reporters at the briefing were told. 

Circuit breaker for 2 weeks

P.E.I. imposed sweeping new public health measures Monday morning after seven new cases of COVID-19 were announced over the weekend.

The Wendy’s and A&W restaurants on University Avenue in Charlottetown closed temporarily Saturday after staff members tested positive for COVID-19. All three are women in their 20s who work at the restaurants and are close contacts of each other.

Four more cases — three women in their 20s and one in her 30s — were announced Sunday and are connected to the three announced on Saturday.

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King has asked all Islanders in the capital region between the ages of 20 and 29 to get tested, even if they have no symptoms.

All P.E.I. school sports and extra-curricular activities have been temporarily suspended, and four high schools will move to remote learning.

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