January 18, 2021

Morrison urges islanders to ‘think small’ during holidays as COVID-19 restrictions relaxed

Prince Edward Island Premier Tennis King and Chief Public Health Officer Dr Heather Morrison have announced the relaxation of Govt-19 restrictions, including large gatherings, more spectators in long-term care homes and the resumption of organized games.

They made the announcement during an unplanned conference on Thursday.

“Although the islanders have received some relief through their hard work and dedication, this is not the time to stop,” King reminded the province.

The restrictions will ease at 8 a.m. Friday and the changes will last until January 11. The new measures include:

  • A house can welcome up to 10 extra people for a private meeting. Morrison told 10 people to “be as consistent as possible and maintain physical distance as much as possible”.
  • Restaurants may again offer dining room service, but must close by 11pm, further reducing capacity.
  • Entertainment and organized play may resume, but competitions are prohibited.
  • Many of the residents in long-term care have two partners and up to six additional visitors in each assigned area.
  • Organized meetings such as church services and concerts can be resumed with a maximum of 50 people if there is an approved action plan.
  • Weddings and funerals can now be attended by up to 50 people.
  • Gyms, museums, craft fairs, markets and retail establishments can operate at 50 percent of normal capacity.

Morrison said he expects to see more cases of COVID-19 in PEI in the coming weeks, with increased travel during the holidays.

Circuit breaker operations were initially relaxed

This is in advance of the easing of “circuit-breaker” restrictions imposed after 11 cases erupted on December 5-6. Authorities have not yet determined the cause of the explosion, which primarily affected a crowd in their 20s.

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PEI Premier Tennis King announces relaxation of circuit-breaker restrictions on PEI four days ago (Ken Lyndon / CBC)

There have been no new cases for PEI since Saturday, December 12, when five cases related to travel were announced.

The absence of new cases by King and Morrison shows that the restrictions, which saw thousands of people under the age of 20 tested in the Charlottetown area by removing all public and private gatherings, were successful in preventing the eruption in early December.

Morrison announced a new case unrelated to PRI Thursday, a 30-year-old man who traveled to PEI on Air Canada Flight 7462 from Toronto on December 30 to meet family over the holidays. Morrison urged anyone on the plane to monitor themselves for signs.

Morrison praised the man’s decision to isolate himself in a place away from family, despite being asymptomatic.

Acknowledging that Christmas will be different for many this year, the public health officer urged islanders to “think small, think consistently, think carefully” during the holidays.

“I hope the islanders will agree,” he admitted, nervously.

“Thank you and thank you to all of your staff for saving Christmas,” King told Morrison at the end of the news conference. “That’s wonderful.”

The PEI has confirmed a total of 90 Govt-19 cases since the onset of the infection, with no deaths or hospitalization. As of Thursday afternoon, 17 cases were considered active.

Health workers in the first place for the Pfizer-Bioentech vaccine The province kicked off its vaccination program in the first place.

Reminder of COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever.
  • Previous cough cough or worsening.
  • Possible loss of taste and / or odor.
  • throat pain.
  • New or worse fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • wheezing.
  • Runny nose.

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