Adjustments to Moving Forward Plan; Islanders encouraged to get vaccinated; two new cases of COVID-19 in PEI
Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, is encouraging all eligible Islanders to protect themselves and others by getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“PEI is fortunate to have a high overall vaccine uptake in the eligible population, but rates of fully vaccinated people age 12 to 40 is still less than 80 per cent. COVID-19 spreads easily among individuals who are not vaccinated, and outbreaks are more common in areas where people are not fully vaccinated. As we cautiously enter the fall season, knowing the potentially serious impacts of the fourth wave, the very best thing we can do to protect ourselves and others is to be fully vaccinated.”
- Dr. Heather Morrison
As of Saturday, September 4, a total of 244,813 doses of vaccine have been administered. 91.7 per cent of the eligible population have received at least one dose and 82.4 have received two doses. There are 43,000 people in PEI who are not fully vaccinated.
Health PEI vaccine clinics are accepting walk-in appointments. Participating pharmacies continue to offer both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to those age 18 years and over. Over the next few weeks, UPEI and Holland College are offering vaccine clinics on campus.
When the Moving Forward Plan was released in May, it was estimated that Step 5 would begin on September 12. Since this time, the highly transmissible and infectious Delta variant as emerged as the dominant strain of COVID-19; Canada is now in the fourth wave; and 80 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated is not enough to provide protection against the Delta variant.
To continue to protect our province from any potential spread of COVID-19, Step 5 of the Moving Forward plan will be implemented over time, with border and travel measures, including screening, testing, self-isolation and the PEI Pass remaining in place until at least mid-October. In addition, preliminary discussions are now underway regarding the implementation of a proof of vaccine credential or a vaccine passport as part of Phase 5 of the Moving Forward plan to allow for safer, larger gatherings. A vaccine passport program will mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission at large events. Although at an early stage, events or venues that use a proof of vaccine credential may still be required to maintain other public health measures such as masking or co-horting. More details regarding a PEI Proof of Vaccine Credential will be available in the coming weeks.
As of Friday, September 3, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated staff in long term care facilities and licensed nursing homes and community care facilities across PEI are required to be routinely tested for COVID-19. Regular testing for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated staff who have direct care responsibilities, is another measure to protect our loved ones.
As children return to school this week for in-class learning, steps will continue to be taken to support children and the education system. Because children under the age of 12 years are not eligible to be vaccinated and the rate of full vaccination in the under 20 age group is less than 70 per cent, it is important to know the vaccine status of teachers and school staff. All K to 12 schools in the province are required to submit information on the vaccine status of staff to the Chief Public Health Office by September 10. Preliminary data received suggests a high rate of vaccination among school staff.
Late this week, as part of a pilot project, easy-to-use self-test kits will be available to some Island children. The pilot will focus on rural communities in West Prince and Eastern and Southern Kings. The tests will allow parents to test their children at home if they are showing symptoms.
Dr. Morrison announced two new cases of COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island.
The individuals are both in their 20s and both recently travelled outside of Atlantic Canada. Contact tracing is complete, and the individuals are self-isolating.
There are flight exposure notifications related to these cases:
- Air Canada flight 2031 from Charlottetown to Toronto on Sunday, August 29
- West Jet flight 382 from Toronto to Charlottetown on Sunday, September 5
- Air Canada flight 7554 from Montreal to Charlottetown on Sunday, September 5
- West Jet flight 330 from Toronto to Charlottetown on Monday, September 6
Anyone who travelled on these flights should monitor closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and if any develop, visit a drop-in testing site.
Prince Edward Island currently has five active cases of COVID-19 and has had 235 positive cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.
Since June, over 400,500 PEI Pass applications have been received and over 472,000 visitors have been welcomed to PEI. Islanders entering the province are screened at entry and those from outside Atlantic Canada and unvaccinated individuals from within Atlantic Canada are tested.
As always, all Islanders are urged to get tested if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19, even after a previous negative test, and to self-isolate until the results come back. Islanders are also encouraged to download the free national COVID Alert app, which will let them know if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Anyone age 12 and over can make an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccination at one of the public clinics online or by calling 1-844-975-3303; or by contacting one of the 28 partner pharmacies across the province. Every Islander in the target age range will have the opportunity to be vaccinated in 2021.
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:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
- Get vaccinated
- Stay home if you are not feeling well
- Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Keep your circle of contacts small
- 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