Essential Workers: Self-isolation, Testing and Exemptions

All essential workers entering PEI who arrive from outside of the Atlantic Provinces or who have not spent at least 14 consecutive days in NS, NB or NFLD prior to arriving in PEI are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. However, PEI essential workers who travel off-Island for work may be exempt from self-isolation.

Islanders who must cross borders for work as part of an essential service can reduce risk to themselves, their families and communities when they are home. The following guidelines are provided for essential workers who travel to or from PEIhealth care workers and truckers who have travel outside of the province. You will also find basic guidance for temporary foreign workers.

What is an essential worker?

Essential workers are those whose work, if interrupted would endanger the life, health or personal safety of the whole or part of the population. Essential workers include but are not limited to construction workers, healthcare workers, those employed in the transportation of goods and services, workers in the energy sector, fisheries, agriculture, etc.

For essential workers who come to PEI to work from outside the Atlantic provinces.

You are required to self-isolate for the duration of your stay in Prince Edward Island (if 14 days or less) other than when you are performing work duties. However, when you are not at work, follow these self-isolation guidelines:

  • return to and stay in hotel room or other accommodations
  • do not visit friends or family
  • (may) use delivery services
  • do not go to stores, banks, services that are open.
  • monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.

Report any symptoms to your employer. If symptoms develop while on PEI, call 811 and maintain strict self- isolation.

When you are at your work site, you must continue to:

  • maintain physical distancing from co-workers 6 feet or 2 meters
  • perform hand hygiene and practice cough etiquette

Do not present to your work site if you are sick.

When you leave PEI to return home, follow the guidelines of your home province.

Guidelines for the essential worker household

Follow the guidelines of your home province.

For essential workers who leave PEI to work

Essential workers who are PEI residents, and who travel outside of the province frequently, or for periods of time, can be divided into 4 groups:

  1. Essential workers traveling frequently off Island for work within Canada and are home in PEI for less than 14 days 
  2. Essential workers traveling off Island often for work within Canada and home in PEI for more than 14 days
  3. Truck drivers who travel outside of NS, NB, or NFLD within Canada and the U.S.
  4. Essential Workers who travel to the U.S. frequently for work. 

Group 1

PEI residents who are essential workers and travel outside of Atlantic Canada frequently (home less than 14 days between work periods) can be tested weekly (no more than every 7 days) for COVID-19. The first time you are tested you will be required to self-isolate while waiting for your test results (approximately 48 hours).  If the test is negative you no longer have to self-isolate when at home. You will be required to be tested again if you are still in the province at day 7. This exemption depends on being tested weekly/when you re-enter the province (if away longer than a week).  

Group 2

PEI residents who are essential workers and travel regularly outside of Atlantic Canada for work, but are home more than 14 days between work periods, can be tested on arrival and self-isolate until results are back from the first test. If the test is negative you no longer have to self-isolate when at home. They should also be tested 7 days later. This testing process should be followed each time they enter the province following a work period outside of Atlantic Canada.

Group 3

See information for truckers below

Group 4

PEI residents who are essential workers (excluding health care workers) who frequently travel to the U.S. for essential work are required to self-isolate for 14 days when not at work. Testing can be done when they arrive back in the province and at 7 days. Workers will self-isolate until their first test is reported negative then isolate for the 14 days except while they are working (i.e. work-isolate). The 14 day self-isolation period must be completed regardless of test results. 

For essential workers who are not residents of PEI

  • Must self-isolate for 14 days if arriving on PEI from the US, with no exceptions.
  • Must self-isolate, except for when performing essential work, if entering PEI from outside the Atlantic Provinces but within Canada.
  • Testing for essential workers who are not PEI residents is not permitted in order to avoid self-isolation requirements

Please minimize your contacts while waiting for your results and keep track of those you are in contact with in case your test is positive.

This does not pertain to LTC staff; they must isolate for 14 days.

Where can I be tested?

Essential workers can be tested by calling 1-855-354-4358 and choose option 2, tell them you are an essential worker and would like to be tested. You will be given an appointment time.

What if I am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

If you are experiencing symptoms, you should immediately self-isolate upon entering PEI and call 811 to be assessed.

How will I get my test results?

You will receive a call with your result within 36 to 48 hours by public health nursing.

What if the test result is Negative?

You should continue to monitor your health including any signs or symptoms of illness. If you become ill, please call 811 to be tested.

What if my test is Positive?

If you test positive you should self-isolate and you will be contacted by Public Health Nursing and advised on next steps.

This exemption only applies to PEI residents who travel out of province for their essential work and return home between work periods.

Guidelines for the essential worker household

The worker’s household does not have to self-isolate, provided that:

  • the worker does not have symptoms.
  • the worker is able to maintain isolation from the rest of the household*

If members of the household develop symptoms, call 811, and the household must maintain strict self-isolation.

For health care workers

For information on self-isolation for Health Care Workers, visit Health PEI Health Care Workers: COVID-19 FAQs.

Learn more at COVID-19 Self-Isolation

For truckers

All individuals entering PEI from outside the Atlantic provinces are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. If unable to self-isolate away from others in the household, the entire household must also self-isolate for 14 days. However, truck drivers who will be tested regularly for COVID-19 may be exempt from self-isolation (see below).

Can I be tested for COVID-19 and not be required to self-isolate?

PEI commercial truck drivers, who travel outside of Atlantic Canada and to the U.S. for work, can be tested weekly. The first time they are tested they will be required to self-isolate until the negative test is reported. They should also be tested 7 days later if still in the province. Isolation while waiting for test results is not necessary after the first time being tested. This exemption depends on being tested weekly when you re-enter the province (if away longer than a week).

However, please monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and if symptoms should occur self-isolate and call 811 for testing.

Where can I be tested?

Truck drivers can be tested at the Confederation Bridge clinic in Borden. The clinic is open daily from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. If you arrive after clinic hours you can either;

  1. Go to the Borden Clinic in your private vehicle for testing during clinic hours. Please call ahead to the Borden clinic by calling  902-303-2673, OR
  2. Truck drivers can also be tested by calling 1-855-354-4358 and choose option 2, tell them you are a Truck driver and would like to be tested. You will be given an appointment time.

How will I get my test results?

You will receive a call with your result within approximately 48 hours The first time you are tested you will be required to self-isolate while waiting for your test results. If you are tested weekly (or when you enter the province if you are away longer than one week at a time) you will not have to self-isolate waiting for test results. Please minimize your contacts while waiting for your results and keep track of those you are in contact with in case your test is positive.

What if the test result is negative?

You and your family will not be required to self-isolate. You should continue to monitor your health including any signs or symptoms of illness. If you become ill, please call 811 to be tested.

What if my test is positive?

If you test positive you will be contacted by Public Health Nursing and advised on next steps.

The following personal protective measures also apply for truckers:

  • travel with essential supplies (food, water, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, etc) if possible to enable self-isolation during trip;
  • avoid all unnecessary public establishments or gatherings;
  • increase regularly scheduled cleaning with a disinfecting agent or antimicrobial disposable wipe inside each power unit and shared spaces;

A post trip inspection should include wiping down of all shared spaces with a disinfecting agent. Include steering wheel, dashboard, radio and/or telematics devices, door handles and gear shifts.

For temporary foreign workers

Temporary foreign workers (TFW), including seasonal agricultural workers, fish-seafood workers, caregivers, etc., are exempt from travel restrictions because of their importance to the Canadian economy. This exemption applies to foreign nationals who have already committed to working, studying, or making Canada their home.

  • travel by TFW is considered essential travel for land border restrictions.
  • workers will face health screening before travel.
  • workers must isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada.

 

Published date: 
August 4, 2020
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121

DeptHW@gov.pe.ca