Four new cases of the COVID-19 virus were confirmed on PEI this evening.
Chief Public Health Officer Doctor Heather Morrison said all cases of the virus are related to international travel and each patient took proper precautions by self-isolating as soon as they arrived home.
Two of the patients are from Queens County and the other two are from Prince County. All four are male and between the ages of 55 and 70 and all four cases are unrelated.
Dr Morrison expects the number of cases and severity of the cases to increase, but the process of contact tracing for each patient will be maintained.
As new cases of the virus are confirmed, public health nursing staff contact the patient to inform them of the test result and begin tracing down anyone the patient came into contact with.
“This is where the real work to starts with so many new cases,” said Dr Morrison.
She added that staff from public health nursing serve a vital role at this time as they are the ones who perform the contact tracing.
When an individual comes in close contact with a patient and also display symptoms of the virus, they will be tested.
The process of contact tracing for COVID-19 patients on PEI has not be overly exhaustive yet.
Dr Morrison said the time to complete contact tracing can vary greatly from someone who self-isolated after returning from international travel compared to a situation in Newfoundland and Labrador where a patient attended a funeral while they had the virus. The patient was found to be the root cause of numerous confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“That is where the contact tracing is more challenging,” she said.
None of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been hospitalized.
As of Thursday morning the province performed 556 tests with 339 coming back negative. The province is still waiting on 212 test results from the National Microbiology Lab in Manitoba.
PEI has one case of the COVID-19 virus that has fully recovered.