204 new cases of COVID-19 and 91 recoveries in PEI; changes to isolation requirements
Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, has announced 204 new cases of COVID-19 and 91 recoveries in PEI.
These new cases are still under investigation and contact tracing is underway. There are currently 1,491 active cases of COVID-19 and there have been 2,288 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Over the last seven days there have been an average of 156 cases per day.
There are four individuals in hospital being treated for COVID-19. One of the hospitalized individuals is currently in the Intensive Care Unit. There are currently three individuals in hospital for other reasons who have tested positive for COVID-19.
As the Omicron variant has a shorter incubation period (time from exposure to onset of symptoms) than previous strains of COVID-19, many jurisdictions have recently changed isolation requirements.
Effective Friday, January 7 at 8:00 am:
- Fully vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19:
- Must isolate for seven days (reduced from 10 days) following the onset of symptoms or a positive test if not symptomatic (whichever is shorter);
- May leave isolation after seven days if they do not have symptoms or if symptoms are improving, including no fever for at least 24 hours; and
- Should not visit high-risk settings or individuals (long term care, community care or child care centres) from 10 days from the beginning of isolation.
- Individuals positive for COVID-19 who are not fully vaccinated:
- Must isolate for ten days following the onset of symptoms or a positive test, whichever is shortest.
- Fully vaccinated close contacts of someone who tested positive for COVID-19:
- Must isolate for at least 96 hours after their last exposure to the case and test on day four;
- Provided they do not have symptoms and have a negative test on day four from a Health PEI clinic, they can leave isolation;
- Should self-monitor for symptoms for another six days (or 10 days since last exposure); and
- During this 10 day period they should not visit high risk settings or individuals.
- Close contacts of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 who are not fully vaccinated:
- Must isolate for seven days after last exposure to the case;
- Can leave self-isolation on day seven if they have no symptoms and a negative test at a Health PEI clinic;
- Must monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for another three days and isolate and test if any symptoms develop; and
- Should not visit high risk settings or individuals for 10 days from the start of isolation.
These changes affect all current close contacts who are in isolation. Anyone who is not symptomatic and currently in self-isolation longer than the new 96 hour (if fully vaccinated) or seven day (if not fully vaccinated) requirements, must have a negative test result from a Health PEI testing clinic. Anyone who is fully vaccinated and has already had a day 4 or 6 negative test, does not need to be tested again. Islanders are urged to be patient and not overwhelm testing clinics today as the clinics have limited capacity.
Wearing a face mask in the community is an added layer of protection against COVID-19 and its variants. Masks are required in indoor spaces in PEI and outside when physical distancing is not possible. Wearing a good fitting, three layer mask properly is essential.
As active case numbers rise, so does the number of individuals in self-isolation. The new Test to Stay policy allows the Chief Public Health Office to grant approval for an essential worker who is a close contact without symptoms to go to work under certain conditions (including daily testing, monitoring for symptoms, physical distancing and masking). This policy will be used sparingly and in exceptional circumstances to maintain essential services. Workplaces providing essential services impacted by staff in isolation can submit an online application to be considered under the Test to Stay policy effective immediately. A response will be received within 24 to 48 hours.
Anyone who is pregnant and diagnosed with COVID-19 should contact the Labour and Delivery Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital ((902) 894-2243) to connect with a health care provider who will provide support and direction regarding prenatal care while in isolation. Anyone who is pregnant and a close contact of a positive case (with a negative test) is required to follow isolation and testing requirements. It is important to reschedule prenatal visits and ultrasounds during the isolation period. If urgent prenatal care during the isolation period is required, please call Labour and Delivery.
In order to preserve the limited capacity of Health PEI testing clinics, until further notice, testing will continue to be limited to the following:
- Symptomatic individuals
- Close contacts of positive cases
- Confirmatory tests for individuals who test preliminary positive at a point-of-entry
- Confirmatory tests for individuals who test preliminary positive with a rapid antigen test
Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate until they are able to be tested and continue to isolate after being tested until a negative result is received.
Individuals who do not have symptoms do not require testing (unless in one of the above categories). Those who are presenting for testing related to travel (for example: day 4 tests) will be provided with at home rapid antigen tests, two tests to be taken 48 hours apart.
Islanders are reminded that supports are available for those impacted by COVID-19. The Prince Edward Island Emergency Payment for Workers, Emergency Income Relief for Self-Employed, and the COVID-19 Special Leave Fund programs are now accepting applications. Islanders may also be eligible for programs through the Government of Canada such as the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit or the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
Individuals who are isolating and require supports are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 to be directed to nearby community support systems, or provincial government service offices. This assistance includes help with securing food, personal prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and other emergency situations. A modified school food lunch program is also available to have pre-cooked meals delivered to homes starting this week. The program operates on a self-referral basis. More information is available here.
As of Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 95.6 per cent of eligible Island residents age 12 years and over have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 92.4 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses. 47 per cent of children age 5-11 years have received their first dose. Almost 24,000 people have received their third dose of COVID-19 booster.
Individuals should book their booster appointment for six months after their last dose. Getting a booster is an important layer or protection against serious illness related to the Omicron variant.
Anyone age 12 and over can receive their COVID-19 vaccination at one of the Health PEI clinics or at one of the 28 partner pharmacies across the province. Island children between the ages of five and 11 years can now receive their COVID-19 vaccination at Health PEI clinics.
For information on PEI’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including vaccine facts, immunization data and booking an appointment, visit: COVID-19 Vaccines. For answers to commonly asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit: Answers to Common COVID-19 Vaccine Questions.
The Chief Public Health Office continues to work closely with the federal government, provincial and territorial counterparts, government departments and Health PEI to monitor the pandemic situation and prepare for all COVID-19 related impacts to the province, including health, social and economic. The public health risk of COVID-19 is continually reassessed, and Islanders will be updated as new information becomes available.
Everyone is encouraged to follow routine prevention measures:
- Get vaccinated
- Wear a properly fitted, three-layer mask in indoor public places and in outdoor public places where physical distancing from others cannot be maintained
- Keep your circle of contacts small
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
- Stay home if you are not feeling well
- Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Physical distance - stay two meters (6 feet) apart
- Don’t share items like drinking glasses and water bottles
- Frequently clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops
- Visit a drop-in-clinic to be tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms
Health and Wellness