CHARLOTTETOWN — Two Atlantic Canadian provinces showed signs of progress in their fights against COVID-19 on Sunday, while another saw a record number of active virus cases in the aftermath of a sudden outbreak.
Public health officials in Prince Edward Island reported the highest number of active infections across the province than at any other point during the nearly year-long pandemic. Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador logged 10 straight days of single-digit case growth and New Brunswick prepared to loosen public health restrictions in response to declining diagnosis rates.
P.E.I.'s top public health official announced two new cases in the province on Sunday, bringing the number of active infections to 26.
"I remain concerned about the current outbreak in our province," Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in a release where she noted the province's sobering new high for active cases.
The two most recent cases involve men in their 20s who are now self-isolating, the release said.
One man is a close contact of a previously identified patient, and the other tested positive after visiting a public exposure site more than a week ago. Officials said the man first tested negative for the virus, but got tested again when he developed mild symptoms.
The Island is under so-called circuit-breaker measures until March 14, which require all businesses and services to operate at reduced capacity and keep records for contact tracing.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, public health officials reported one new infection, marking the province's 10th consecutive day with single-digit case numbers.
The Avalon region of the province, which includes the metro area of St. John's, remains under lockdown measures after an outbreak spread through the capital last month.
Officials said the outbreak was caused by the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, has said about 565 cases have been linked to the outbreak, which means it generated more new infections than in the previous 11 months combined. Officials were forced to cancel in-person voting in the Newfoundland and Labrador election when lockdown was introduced on Feb. 12.
The province has 87 active infections, including three patients in intensive care, according to a Sunday news release from the Department of Health.
In New Brunswick, meanwhile, residents will wake up to slightly more relaxed public health measures on Monday as the province eases restrictions put in place to curb once-surging case numbers.
The province is set to move to the less restrictive "yellow" alert level of its pandemic response plan on that day, according to a news release Sunday from the Department of Health. Under the new measures, residents can expand their contacts from 10 to 15 people and team sports activities may resume.
Both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Officials in both provinces say the cases are linked to travel or to previously known infections.
There are 35 active reported infections in New Brunswick, including three patients in hospital, two of whom are in intensive care. In Nova Scotia, there are 29 active reported cases of COVID-19, including two people hospitalized in intensive care.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021.
The Canadian Press