Five new cases of COVID-19; schools re-open for in-class learning; masks required in indoor public places
Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, has announced five new positive cases of COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island.
Three of the cases are between the ages of 10 and 19 years, one is in their 20s and one is in their 40s. Four of the individuals are close contacts of previously announced cases associated with the outbreak at West Royalty Elementary School so they have been in self-isolation for the last number of days. These four individuals initially tested negative and became positive on a subsequent test. One case is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada and remains in self-isolation.
“Despite our best efforts, we have not been able to link many of the recent cases to travel outside of the province, so we are dealing with community transmission of COVID-19 in the Greater Charlottetown Area. We are focused on managing this situation and will continue to conduct contact tracing, testing and isolation of cases and close contacts to contain the spread. We want to keep businesses open, to be able to continue activities, and to keep children in school. Although we are entering the fourth wave of this global pandemic, we want to live as normally as possible.”
- Dr. Heather Morrison
Since Saturday, September 11, a total of 3,500 PCR tests have been conducted in PEI, including 1,860 tests on youth under the age of 19 years.
Except for West Royalty Elementary School, all schools in the Charlottetown Family of Schools will re-open for in-class learning on Thursday, September 16. West Royalty Elementary School will re-open for in-class learning on Monday, September 20. Individuals in classes that have been identified as close contacts will not be returning to school until their self-isolation is complete.
Schools across PEI will remain in the Elevated Risk Public Health Measures as identified in the Back to School Plan, which requires:
- Cohorting in grades K to 6
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfection; and
- Physical distancing to the extent possible.
In addition, students and teachers in grades four to 12 will always be required to wear masks in school and on buses, except when eating, drinking or when engaged in physical activity. Teachers who are fully vaccinated (plus 14 days) can remove their masks while teaching, provided they are able to maintain physical distancing
Parents and guardians should continue to be cautious and limit social gatherings for children, including sleepovers; gatherings should be kept small and outdoor activities are preferred.
The three-day suspension on recreational and extracurricular activities for youth under the age of 19 years in the Charlottetown area, ends at midnight tonight. Organizers should continue to screen participants, encourage mask wearing, promote physical distancing and minimal contact. Participants should stay home when not feeling well. Interprovincial travel related to sports and recreational activities for individuals who are not fully vaccinated is discouraged.
In order to protect Islanders by limiting the importation and transmission of COVID-19, and provide additional support to keep Island children in school, the following additional measures will be implemented:
- Effective 8:00 am on Friday, September 17;
- Personal gatherings will be limited to 20 people;
- Non-medical masks will be mandatory for all Islanders in indoor places;
- Exemptions to mandatory masks include, but are not limited to: children under the age of two years; children under the age of five years who will not wear a mask; valid medical reasons (such as active breathing problems); and anyone who cannot remove a mask without assistance.
- PEI residents should not travel off-Island unless it is necessary.
- Border screening, testing and isolation for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people coming to PEI until at least mid-October.
- Expansion of testing, including at points of entry, for school-aged children under the age of 12 years who are unable to be vaccinated.
- School-aged children under the age of 12 years, who have been out of the province for more than 48 hours, should have a negative test before they return to school and be tested again on days four and eight.
- School-aged children under 12 years who have been out of province for less than 48 hours should be tested on days four and eight.
Any Island resident or visitor experiencing even mild symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested and take extra precautions until more is known about the extent of COVID-19 transmission in PEI.
Prince Edward Island currently has 27 active cases of COVID-19 and has had 260 positive cases since the pandemic began.
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; those age 18 years or older can also make an appointment 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.
For the latest information about Prince Edward Island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Prince Edward Island.
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