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P.E.I.’s second COVID-19 case highlights importance of self-isolation: health official

Prince Edward Island’s chief medical officer of health says if the island’s second coronavirus patient didn’t take it upon himself to self-isolate, many others could’ve been sick by now.

At a press briefing Thursday, Dr. Heather Morrison said the patient is a man in his 40s from Queens County who recently returned from the United Kingdom.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Liquor, cannabis stores to shut down across P.E.I. on Thursday

Morrison says the man self-isolated immediately upon returning home because he knew he was supposed to.

“I spoke directly to him and I’m so pleased he’s doing well at home,” said Morrison. “It is a really good example of why we need to self-isolate and the importance of self-isolation.”

“If he had not self-isolated, he may have inadvertently infected others in the community.”

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Morrison says the man flew home last week and called 811 a few days later after developing mild symptoms.

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“He did not have symptoms on the plane,” she said. “He is doing absolutely everything we had wanted him to do.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Nova Scotia announces 5 new presumptive cases of COVID-19' Coronavirus outbreak: Nova Scotia announces 5 new presumptive cases of COVID-19
Coronavirus outbreak: Nova Scotia announces 5 new presumptive cases of COVID-19 – Mar 18, 2020

The province also said that he process of contact tracing is now underway.

There have been a total of 213 tests completed as of around 9 a.m. Thursday, with 122 coming back negative, two confirmed cases, and 89 awaiting results.

Clarification on liquor, cannabis store closures

Earlier this week, Morrison announced it would be shutting down all non-essential services, including liquor and cannabis stores. She also announced the closures of hairdressers, nail salons, malls, pools, and fitness facilities.

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On Thursday, Morrison clarified that government-operated liquor stores would be closed, but breweries and agency stores can remain open.

She also said pick-up, delivery and drive-thru options are being explored.

READ MORE: Prince Edward Island sees first confirmed case of coronavirus

“I’ve worked with many Islanders with alcohol-use disorder and we recognize that alcoholism impacts many families on P.E.I.,” she said. “Alcohol withdrawal is a danger, so we would never leave Islanders without access to alcohol for their own health, for certain people.”

Morrison says it’s especially important for P.E.I. residents to take self-isolation and restrictive measures seriously.

“If we look at what we know about this coronavirus and the mortality rate, if that was to happen in P.E.I., there would be 3,000 deaths,” she said. “The choices we make today will have a major impact on our provinces for all of us in the weeks and months ahead.”

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