P.E.I. has two new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain), bringing the total number of active cases to five, the chief public health officer announced on Sunday.
Dr. Heather Morrison said extensive contact tracing and testing has been underway and will continue.
“We are looking at a cluster of four patients related to a man who had travelled to Nova Scotia and had contact with an individual, who had recently arrived from the United States,” said Morrison.
On Saturday, three cases of COVID-19 were announced, including the man in his 20s, who is asymptomatic, at the centre of this cluster. It also included a woman in her 20s, who is a close contact of the man. The third was a man in his 50s, who is an essential worker that travelled outside the province and has been self-isolating since his return.
"At this point, there is no evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in our province and the risk of transmission of COVID-19 within the province remains low,” said Morrison.
Sunday's new cases are both men in their 20s who were close contacts with the man, who travelled to Nova Scotia for personal reasons on June 26 and returned on June 29. None of the five cases related to seasonal residents or the Atlantic bubble that opened on Friday.
The weekend cases were the first announced in the province in two months.
“Since the start of the pandemic, Prince Edward Island has had a total of 32 cases of COVID-19. We are taking every precaution to limit the spread of the virus in our province,” said Morrison. “Our system has the capacity to respond effectively and efficiently to this cluster of cases and our response protocols have really worked well in this situation.”
The woman in her 20s went to work at Whisperwood Villa on June 30. She had no close contact with residents and returned home as soon as she began to feel ill.
The woman identified nine close contacts, all of whom tested negative, Morrison said on Sunday. The close contacts will remain in self-isolation for 14 days.
Public health officers tested 129 residents and 140 staff at Whisperwood Villa on Saturday. All tests were negative. They will all be re-tested later this week as an added precaution. The final few residents and staff were expected to be tested on Sunday.
Visitors who were at Whisperwood Villa on Tuesday, June 30, are being contacted to arrange for testing.
Morrison said her team is working closely with the facility and its staff.
“I know that it has been a stressful time for the residents, families and staff of Whisperwood Villa to undergo testing for COVID-19,” said Morrison. “We are taking every precaution to protect residents and staff of Whisperwood Villa and keeping them safe is a top priority.”
She also praised staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital medical laboratory, who completed a record-high number of 406 tests on Saturday.
Morrison then reminded Islanders to remain careful and “stick to the basics” like hand washing and physical distancing.
“We have all observed instances of people not maintaining physical distancing and the public health guidelines. This cluster of cases is a clear reminder that COVID-19 is still very much present in our province and we must remain vigilant.
“Even people in a low-risk category are responsible for making good choices to protect their health and the safety of others. Our actions affect others and everyone is susceptible to COVID-19,” said Morrison.