State of Public Health Emergency to be lifted with move to Step 3 of Moving On plan at midnight; isolation for positive cases and mask mandate continue
Step 3 of Prince Edward Island’s Moving On Plan, a guide to help the province transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic, begins tonight, Tuesday, April 5 at 11:59 pm.
“Our response to the pandemic has been strengthened by the availability of vaccines and therapeutics, despite the emergence of more transmissible variants. Like other provinces and territories, PEI is in transition as we look to lift more public health measures tonight at midnight, in accordance with the Moving On Plan.”
- Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison
The following changes to public health measures will come into effect at 11:59 pm tonight, April 5:
- The Public Health State of Emergency will be lifted
- No limits on personal or organized gatherings or sport and recreational activities
- No capacity limits for wedding receptions, funeral receptions or stand up receptions
- Businesses, including retail operations, gyms and fitness facilities, museums and libraries can operate at full capacity
- Food premises and licensed establishments can operate at full capacity
- COVID-19 testing will be voluntary at the Confederation Bridge until April 28th
- Asymptomatic close contacts of positive cases are not required to self-isolate (if isolating away from positive cases)
- Close contacts who are symptomatic, like all other residents of PEI, should continue to be tested at a Health PEI clinic, and isolate until the results are available
- The Test to Stay Program will be rescinded.
Once lifted, the Public Health State of Emergency will be replaced with an order under the Public Health Act that will be in place beginning tonight at 11:59 pm until April 28, mandating the following:
- Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will continue to be required to self-isolate
- Those who are fully vaccinated and children under the age of five will be required to isolate for 7 days from the onset of symptoms or their positive test
- Individuals over the age of five who are not fully vaccinated will be required to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or the date of positive test
- Masks will continue to be required in indoor public places until April 28.
“Masks are an effective public health measure to reduce and slow the risk of transmission,” said Dr. Morrison. “We are prepared for an increase in new cases over the next few weeks as public health measures are gradually eased.
Keeping the mask mandate in place will help curb transmission as we slowly get back to normal. We will not wear masks forever, but during this transition period, they remain an important layer of protection.”
Although not a legal requirement, it is strongly recommended that household close contacts who live, work or access services in high risk settings should be tested on day four. This includes health care workers, first responders, members of First Nations communities; correctional staff and offenders; staff and residents of shelters and transition homes.
Students and staff in the K-12 system and in early learning child-care sector will continue to be asked to use rapid antigen screening tests three times per week, for the next few weeks.
Staff in long-term care and community care homes will continue to be screened before every shift using rapid antigen screening tests, regardless of their vaccine status.
Over the last seven days there have been 2,576 new cases of COVID-19 in PEI, with an average of 367 cases per day. There are 30 individuals in hospital with COVID-19; 14 who have been admitted due to COVID-19, including three in Intensive Care and 16 were admitted for other reasons and were positive on or after admission.
There has been one new death related to COVID-19, an individual over the age of 80 years.
There are outbreaks in 11 community care and long-term care homes across the province; an ongoing outbreak at the Provincial Correctional Center; and a new outbreak at the Kings County Memorial Hospital. There are 34 early learning childcare centers with cases or outbreaks; 32 of these centers are open, one is open with modified or reduced capacity and one is closed.
“Being up to date with our COVID-19 vaccines is the most important tool to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities against the impact of COVID-19 and its variants,” said Dr. Morrison. “Getting a booster once you are eligible is important, keeping more people out of hospital and preventing deaths. There is evidence that getting a booster dose reduces your risk of developing long COVID.”
As of Sunday, April 3, 97.5 per cent of Island residents over the age of 12 years received at least one dose of vaccine and 94.4 per cent were fully vaccinated. 69.3 per cent of children ages 5 to 11 had one dose of vaccine and 52.1 per cent have two doses.
Parents of unvaccinated children between the ages of 5 and 11 years should make an appointment for their children to receive a first dose. Children are vulnerable to developing long COVID-19 and the long-term health impacts of post-viral illnesses is not yet known.
Anyone 12 years of age and older can get their COVID-19 vaccination – first and second dose – at a Health PEI vaccination clinic or at one of the many partner pharmacies across the province. Almost 45,000 Island residents age 12 and over are now eligible for a booster dose. Booster doses are also being offered at clinics and partner pharmacies to those 12 years of age and older who received their second dose five and a half months earlier. Island children 5 to 11 years of age can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Health PEI vaccination clinic.
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. The program operates on a self-referral basis. More information is available here.
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, including a booster when eligible
- Wear a properly fitted, three-layer mask in indoor public places
- 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
Health and Wellness