P.E.I declares 'public health emergency' amid COVID-19 pandemic
TORONTO -- Prince Edward Island declared a "public health emergency" Monday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Dennis King announced the province will support a $25-million emergency contingency fund to support workers and small businesses that have been affected by the new coronavirus.
"We know the decisions that we are making today as cabinet and as a government are significant; however, we are making them with the best interests, health and safety of Islanders in mind,” King said. "This new Emergency Contingency Fund is a first step in our efforts to support Islanders as we get through this unprecedented event together.”
As part of the measures, the provincial government is establishing a toll-free number to assist employers in addressing their concerns and support needs, exploring compensation plans for child-care staff and actively monitoring the supply chain impacts.
P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer also announced Monday the closure of some public libraries in the latest effort to combat COVID-19. Dr. Heather Morrison says the province still has only one confirmed case of the virus -- but she is urging Islanders to start thinking about what are and aren't essential activities.
The New Brunswick government also announced that all non-essential government services will be shut down, beginning Tuesday, March 17, until further notice while Nova Scotia health officials reported two new presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of presumptive cases in the province to five.