Seven new cases of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 have been confirmed on Prince Edward Island.
Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced the numbers at P.E.I.’s daily briefing on Monday.
She said the cases range in age from one patient under 20 years old to two people in their 70s, adding that they are all related to travel outside of Canada.
There are now 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I.
Morrison said either she, or someone from her office spoke to all the new cases this morning.
“They are at home and doing well,” Morrison said.
In summarizing the 18 cases, she said no one is in hospital. One person is considered recovered.
She said the province hopes to increase the amount of tests administered over the next couple of weeks. She said a cough and fever clinic in Charlottetown has expanded its capacity. A new clinic in Summerside opened Monday.
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Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of travel history, will be tested, Morrison said.
“Although we have not seen the community transmission here to date,” she began. “It is definitely increasing across the country, and we’re worried about the same, and we’re looking for it. The sooner we can identify cases, the easier it will be to do contact tracing and self-isolation.”
P.E.I. has had nearly 600 negatives tests to date.
Morrison continued to stress the importance of social distancing of staying two metres apart in helping to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“Right now, the best way we can show our love and appreciation of others is to protect them by staying apart,” she said.
Morrison said screening measures at the Confederation Bridge were strengthened over the weekend, including getting more information from travelers, like contacts on the island, and whether they have a support system in place to acquire supplies while self-isolating for 14 days.
She said health officials are concerned about numerous reports of Islanders not self-isolating for the required 14 days after travelling. Since a new, toll-free telephone reporting line was activated two weeks ago, she said they’ve received more than two thousand calls.
Enforcement officers responded to 56 complaints over the weekend, made 26 home visits, and issued 12 verbal and nine written warnings.
Marion Dowling, P.E.I.’s Chief of Nursing, Allied Health and Patient Experience, said there are two hundred retired healthcare workers, volunteers and other professional who have offered assistance during the crisis.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
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