Three new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Prince Edward Island on July 4.
P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, says none of the cases are related to the July 3 reopening of borders with Atlantic Canada, known as the Atlantic travel bubble, or to seasonal residents.
One of the cases is a young woman who works at Whisperwood Villa, a longterm care home in Charlottetown.
Morrison told a media briefing Saturday that the woman in her 20s went home and isolated as soon as she started to feel ill. The province is making contact with anyone who visited the home on Tuesday, June 30, and is testing residents and staff at Whisperwood, starting Saturday afternoon. Results are expected within 24 hours.
“I understand this news is very concerning for residents and staff, for families and loved ones. Whisperwood Villa is in the process of contacting families and information will continue to be directly shared with families and loved ones as it becomes available.”
Morrison said the woman did wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) while working and her job does not involve direct care of residents.
Public health made contact with management at Whisperwood Villa late Friday evening. The home has rolled back to restricting all visitors and stopping communal dining for residents, while no workers at the home can work in another longterm care home. The frequency of resident temperature checks is also increased.
Whisperwood Villa in Charlottetown
“While I believe the risk of spread is low at Whisperwood, given the staff member wore appropriate PPE and did not provide direct care to residents, our top priority is to prevent further spread of COVID-19 to residents and staff of Whisperwood Villa and in the community.”
To that end, community paramedics from EMS have been deployed to assist in testing at Whisperwood and the QEH is preparing to receive any residents if needed.
The woman, who is symptomatic, is a close contact of another of the cases, a man in his 20s who is asymptomatic and who had travelled to Nova Scotia. While there, he came in contact with someone from the United States.
The third case is a man in his 50s who is an essential worker who travelled outside the province and has been self-isolating since his return.
As for how the new cases may impact the newly opened Atlantic bubble, Premier Dennis King reiterated Morrison’s earlier comments that while nothing had changed, the government is open to it if necessary.
“The three cases outlined, the three positives, are not related to the Atlantic bubble, but at the same time we have been following public health directives and following the epidemiology,” he said,
“So, Dr. Morrison and I talked earlier this morning and we will take the next 24 to 48 hours to allow the contact tracing and the chief public health office to do what they’re prepared to do and we will let the information guide us at that time.”