Health officials on Prince Edward Island say Canada’s smallest province could have seen up to 900 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic by June 1 if the government hadn’t taken the public health measures that have been imposed.
Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison released modelling on Tuesday that shows the province could still see up to nine deaths over the same period.
Morrison said the modelling allows officials to study a number of scenarios in an effort to better control the outbreak. She said the numbers are both motivating and reassuring.
“Motivating that we have been doing the right measures and motivating that we need to continue to do so. It’s also reassuring that our actions have made a difference,” Morrison said.
“These are powerful models in many ways because it shows us what could have happened, what will happen if we don’t have some form of public health measures going forward, and it puts it in perspective,” she said.
Prince Edward Island did not report any new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, leaving the provincial total at 25 cases.
Morrison said 23 of those cases are considered recovered.
Premier Dennis King said he is hearing from lots of people who want to get back to normal, so talks have begun to see what a gradual, safe transition would look like.
“I do understand what Islanders are feeling. I understand that every single Islander has been impacted and that we are really eager to get back to some kind of normal,” King said.
“We haven’t been able to put a firm date on when that will be, but we know at some point – hopefully soon – that can begin,” the premier added.
Morrison said the biggest risk has been the importation of cases, so she doesn’t foresee changes to the restrictions at entry points any time soon.
King said the first changes will be to allow greater freedom of movement on the Island.
“We certainly won’t want to take a step backwards and try to catch up because that would be very difficult in this province,” he said.
Author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell discusses the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus pandemic on refugees, conflict and the economy. Gladwell was in conversation with Rudyard Griffiths from the Munk Debates.
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