Mask mandate to ending today; point of entry screening and voluntary testing to end April 28th

Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, announced that Prince Edward Island will be ending the mandate to wear masks in indoor public places on May 6, 2022. Starting on May 6th masks will be highly recommended in most indoor settings and will still be required in some high risk areas such as hospitals, long term and community care homes, public transit and for students and staff in K-12 when they are on buses and when not seated in class.

Effective Thursday, April 28, at 12:00 pm there will be no screening or voluntary testing available at the Confederation Bridge. Rapid antigen screening tests will no longer be distributed to people entering PEI via the bridge or the Charlottetown Airport. Masking in indoor public places will be extended until May 6th at 12:01 am. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will continue to be required to isolate for 7 days (if fully vaccinated) or 10 days (if not fully vaccinated).

“We are beginning to see a downward trend in daily new cases and hospitalizations. We need to keep wearing masks for a bit longer to be sure the positive trends are sustained. Even when the broad mask mandate is lifted next week, our office will strongly recommend that Island residents and visitors continue to wear a mask in indoor public places. In addition, on May 6 masks will continue to be required in hospitals, long term and community care homes, on public transit and for students and staff in K-12 when they are on buses and when not seated in class. Measures such as masking that are currently in place are effective and making a difference. Self-isolation of positive cases continues to be an important public health measure that reduces transmission and protects others in the community from getting sick.”

– Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison

“The discontinuation of screening and voluntary testing at Borden is a significant step forward as border measures have been in place since the pandemic began in March 2020,” said Dr. Morrison. “Special thanks to travelers for their cooperation and patience and to our partners who have enabled an estimated 1.6 million people to be screened at the points of entry over the past 25 months.

Over the last seven days there have been 1,738 new cases of COVID-19 in PEI, with an average of 248 cases per day.

There are 14 individuals in hospital with COVID-19; six who have been admitted due to COVID-19 (one is in the Intensive Care Unit) and eight were admitted for other reasons and were positive on or after admission.

There have been 2 new deaths related to COVID-19, both individuals age 80 years and over.

The Omicron BA.2 variant was first detected in PEI in early March. As in other jurisdictions, BA.2 has quickly become the dominant strain in our province. So far in April, of the cases with sequencing information, 64 per cent have been confirmed to be the highly transmissible BA.2 variant.

As of April 24, 97.6 per cent of Island residents over the age of 12 years received at least one dose of vaccine and 94.6 per cent were fully vaccinated. 69 per cent of children ages 5 to 11 had one dose of vaccine and 53.1 per cent have two doses.

The Novavax vaccine is now available in PEI. This is an effective and safe protein-based vaccine for individuals age 18 and over who cannot take an mRNA vaccine. This vaccine is available at participating pharmacies.

Parents of unvaccinated children between the ages of 5 and 11 years should make an appointment for their children to receive a first dose. In addition to any immediate illness, children are vulnerable to developing long COVID-19 and the long-term health impacts of post-viral illnesses is not yet known. Island children 5 to 11 years of age can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Health PEI vaccination clinic(link is external).

Anyone 12 years of age and older can get their primary series of the COVID-19 vaccination, first and second dose, at a Health PEI vaccination clinic(link is external) or at one of the many partner pharmacies across the province. Approximately 47,300 Island residents age 12 and over are now eligible for a first booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Booster doses are being offered at clinics and partner pharmacies. Adolescents 12 to 17 years of age can receive a booster dose six months after completing their primary series of the vaccine, and Islanders 18 years of age and older can receive a booster dose five and half months after completing their primary series.

A second booster dose is now recommended for Islanders 70 years of age and older, those living in long-term and community care facilities, and Indigenous adults 18 years of age and older to provide extended protection against COVID-19. The second booster dose should be administered four to six months after receiving the first booster dose.

Islanders recently infected with COVID-19 should wait three months after onset of symptoms or testing positive before getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster dose.

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.

Source: Government of Prince Edward Island

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