A Phased Approach
A phased approach to relaxing COVID-19 public health restrictions for Prince Edward Island will require a concerted and cautious effort by all Islanders. This plan will be implemented in four distinct phases, with a gradual lifting of restrictions for individuals, communities and organizations. Progression through each phase will be gradual and constantly evaluated based by the Chief Public Health Office. If there are concerns about moving into a next phase, progress will be slowed, halted, or even reversed to continue to protect the health of Islanders.
Decisions during each phase will be based on evidence and continuous monitoring to ensure that:
- COVID-19 transmission is controlled
- Public Health maintains capacity for testing, rapid case follow-up and contact tracing, with sufficient supports for Islanders required to self-isolate
- The health system has sufficient capacity to manage and treat cases, particularly in acute care and in the provision of personal protective equip- ment (PPE)
- Risks of an outbreak in vulnerable population settings (for example, long-term care facilities) are minimized
- Preventive measures are implemented in work- places, schools, institutions, businesses, and gathering places
- The risk of importing COVID-19 into PEI is managed
- Islanders are engaged and empowered with the knowledge of what needs to be done and why, and understand their key role in controlling the transmission of COVID-19
For organizations, as we move cautiously yet optimistically forward, it is important to understand that this phased approach does not mean ‘business as usual.' All services, businesses, and organizations will need to modify their operation in light of COVID-19 and will be required to create operational plans demonstrating how they will reduce risk. This will facilitate continuous monitoring and ensure adequate preventive measures are in place.
For individuals and communities, it is our collective action that will contribute to the success of this plan. Guidance we have become familiar with – physical distancing, good hand hygiene, staying home when ill, enhanced cleaning and disinfection of commonly touched surfaces, and more - will remain in place through each phase of the plan.
Phases One to Phase Four outlined a general plan for renewing some activities and services in PEI while we continue to manage the risk related to COVID-19.
COVID-19 is caused by a newly circulating virus and the evidence is still evolving. Our population does not have immunity at this time to the virus. We know that COVID-19 is highly infectious and spread by coughing or sneezing, close personal contact, or by touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands. Preliminary evidence and our knowledge of other respiratory viruses suggests that the potential for COVID-19 transmission is likely to be lower outdoors than it is indoors. The risk of spread increases exponentially with the number of contacts one has.
All plans are subject to change as the situation continues to evolve. Organizations and businesses are not required to re-open at the initiation of the relevant phase and may choose to continue operating virtually or online. Not all organizations and businesses have been identified in the respective phases. Those referenced represent the types of services and activities that fall within that phase. Organizations and businesses that are about which phase they may re-open can seek direction from the Chief Public Health Office.