COVID-19 outbreak at West Royalty Elementary triggers one week closure; Charlottetown Family of Schools close for three days; extracurricular activities in Charlottetown area suspended for youth
Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at West Royalty Elementary School in Charlottetown.
Dr. Morrison announced six new positive cases of COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island.
All six individuals are under 19 years of age (with four of the six individuals under the age of 10 years). All six individuals are self-isolating. At this point, the cases have not been linked to travel outside of the province. All cases and close contacts will be contacted directly by public health regarding testing and isolation requirements. Currently, there are over 50 close contacts identified and the list is growing.
Four of the individuals are considered close contacts of the case associated with West Royalty School that was announced yesterday. Another one of the new cases is a student at Charlottetown Rural High School. The other new case is a close contact of a case that was announced last week.
“The situation at West Royalty Elementary School is considered an outbreak, the first school outbreak in PEI since the pandemic began. We are erring on the side of caution, assuming the new cases are the highly transmissible Delta variant. COVID-19, including the Delta variant, seeks out those who are not vaccinated and that is what we are experiencing. Over 40,000 people in PEI are currently unvaccinated, including those who are not eligible. This is an evolving and concerning situation. Our investigation continues, with contact tracing and testing currently underway. Until we can identify a link to travel, we will make decisions based on there being community transmission of COVID-19 in PEI.”
- Dr. Heather Morrison
West Royalty Elementary School will be closed for the next week. Any child who attends this school or staff member that has not been tested in the last 24 to 36 hours should be tested as soon as possible.
Health PEI has extended drop-in test clinic hours at the Charlottetown clinic (64 Park Street) until 6:00 pm today, Sunday, September 12. Individuals should not go to the emergency department for testing. Individuals who are not tested today will be able to be tested tomorrow when the test clinic opens at 8:00 am.
The Montague testing clinic (14 Rosedale Road) will be closed tomorrow Monday, September 13 to allow staff to assist with testing in Charlottetown.
The O’Leary mobile testing clinic will delay opening until Friday, September 17.
To allow time to learn more about the extent of transmission in PEI, schools in the Charlottetown family of schools will close from Monday, September 13 to Wednesday, September 15. The schools include:
- Birchwood Intermediate School
- Charlottetown Rural Senior High School
- Colonel Grey Senior High School
- Donagh Regional School
- École François-Buote
- Glen Stewart Primary School
- Grace Christian School
- Immanuel Christian School
- L.M. Montgomery Elementary School
- Parkdale Elementary School
- Prince Street Elementary School
- Queen Charlottetown Intermediate School
- Sherwood Elementary School
- Spring Park Elementary School
- St. Jean Elementary School
- Stonepark Intermediate School
- Stratford Elementary School
- West Kent Elementary School
- West Royalty Elementary School
These schools will not be available for use by community groups during this closure. Extensive cleaning of schools and buses will be completed in the coming days.
Students and staff at these schools should monitor themselves for symptoms and arrange for testing if any symptoms develop (even if they are mild).
By mid-week, all schools in the province will move to elevated risk level measures public health measures in the Back to School Plan, including implementing cohorting in K-6 schools, additional cleaning measures and physical distancing to the extent possible.
Early Learning and Childcare Centres across the province will remain open as normal.
There will be a three-day suspension of extracurricular activities for school-aged youth under the age of 19 in the Charlottetown area (hockey, skating, dance, gymnastics, soccer, etc.). Organizers should consider cancelling all provincial team activities (with participants from all parts of PEI) effective immediately until Wednesday at midnight. Youth who live in Charlottetown should not travel out of the capital city area to attend sporting and recreational events during this three-day suspension. Families are asked to limit social gatherings for youth, including sleepovers, birthday parties and play dates.
Any Island resident or visitor experiencing even mild symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested and take extra precautions until more is known about the extent of COVID-19 transmission in PEI.
Prince Edward Island currently has 14 active cases of COVID-19 and has had 247 positive cases.
There is one public notification related to a case that was announced last week. Anyone who travelled on West Jet flight 330 on Friday, September 10, arriving in Charlottetown at 12:15 pm should monitor for symptoms and get tested if any develop.
As of Wednesday, September 8, a total of 246,214 doses of vaccine have been administered. 92 per cent of the eligible population have received at least one dose and 83.1 per cent have received two doses.
As always, all Islanders are urged to get tested if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19, even after a previous negative test, and to self-isolate until the results come back. Islanders are also encouraged to download the free national COVID Alert app, which will let them know if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Anyone age 12 and over can make an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccination at one of the public clinics online or by calling 1-844-975-3303; or anyone 18+ can contact one of the 28 partner pharmacies across the province. Every Islander in the target age range will have the opportunity to be vaccinated in 2021.
For information on PEI’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including vaccine facts, immunization data and booking an appointment, visit: COVID-19 Vaccines. For answers to commonly asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit: Answers to Common COVID-19 Vaccine Questions.
For the latest information about Prince Edward Island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Prince Edward Island.
The Chief Public Health Office continues to work closely with the federal government, provincial and territorial counterparts, government departments and Health PEI to monitor the pandemic situation and prepare for all COVID-19 related impacts to the province, including health, social and economic. The public health risk of COVID-19 is continually reassessed, and Islanders will be updated as new information becomes available.
Everyone is encouraged to follow routine prevention measures:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
- Get vaccinated
- Stay home if you are not feeling well
- Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Keep your circle of contacts small
- Physical distance - stay two meters (6 feet) apart
- Don’t share items like drinking glasses and water bottles
- Frequently clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops
- Visit a drop-in-clinic to be tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms
Health and Wellness