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As other provinces look to lockdowns, P.E.I. to loosen its COVID-19 restrictions

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As Canada’s larger provinces look to impose restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, Prince Edward Island is moving in the opposite direction.

Dr. Heather Morrison, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday the Island will increase gathering limits and loosen other rules as of Thursday.

“It is concerning to hear about the sharp rise in cases being reported by many provinces in Canada,” Morrison told a news conference in Charlottetown.

“It is normal for us to feel very protected here in Prince Edward Island, being part of the Atlantic bubble. That, to date, has been very safe … P.E.I. is in an enviable position of slowly and carefully getting back to what we are calling our ‘new normal.”‘

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Morrison said the province’s “new normal phase” will include relaxed visitation limits for long-term-care facilities and increased opportunities for sports and recreation.

“The new normal phase reflects how we will live with COVID-19 until there is a safe and accessible vaccine or an effective treatment for the virus,” she said, adding that Islanders remain concerned about the sharp rise in cases in other parts of Canada

“We are reminded regularly that COVID-19 is highly contagious and it’s a virus that likes to move, and move quickly.”

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Meanwhile, P.E.I. health officials reported one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Morrison said the case involves a man in his 20s who travelled outside the Atlantic region. The Island resident did not travel by air and is now recovering at home while contract tracing is underway, she said.

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As of Tuesday, the province had two active cases of COVID-19 and a total of 59 since the pandemic began – all of which were related to travel outside the province.

The province has not reported any deaths linked to the virus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020