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Health officials in Prince Edward Island are notifying the public about a privacy breach resulting from a laptop reported stolen in early April.

In a news release today, Health PEI says the employee’s laptop contained information about more than 4,000 patients and more than 1,200 agency employees.

The agency says the theft was reported to police the day after it was stolen, although it didn’t provide a specific date.

It says the laptop was password-protected and steps were taken to secure the information as soon as possible.

The agency says the likelihood that anyone was able to access the information is “believed to be low.”

Health PEI says it has sent letters to all those whose information may have been breached and says the province’s information and privacy commissioner will conduct a review of the department’s privacy breach investigation.

Dr. Michael Gardam, CEO of Health PEI, issued an apology to those affected by the breach.

“Health PEI is conducting a full review of this situation to ensure any gaps in our protocols are discovered so we can make any changes to improve the security of patient information,” Gardam said.

Health PEI said the majority of the information was about the patients’ visits to Island emergency departments between Sept. 1, 2021 and Oct. 13, 2021, including the reason for the visit, the diagnosis and the name of the treating physician.

Names, dates of birth, health card numbers, gender and postal code were also included.

The laptop also contained personal information belonging to more than 1,200 Health PEI long-term care staff, including names, positions, hours worked and rate of pay. No banking for financial information was in the files.

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