Prince Edward Island Reports 31 New COVID-19 Cases Friday, New Restrictions
Prince Edward Island reports 31 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of active infections in the province to 75.
“This is a record number of cases for PEI. Says Dr. Heather Morrison, Chief Public Health Officer for PEI.
“As Delta has become the dominant variant, starting in early summer, we expect Omicron to quickly overtake Delta in the coming days.”
Morrison announced a second confirmed case of the Omicron variant on the island. This case was previously reported and is linked to the outbreak in St. FX.
ADJUSTMENT OF RESTRICTIONS
Earlier this week, the province released new interim measures to mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant. On Friday, Morrison announced the need to adjust these measures.
“Modeling in other provinces suggests that healthcare systems, including critical care capacity, could be overwhelmed in the coming weeks. This variant is evolving faster than any jurisdiction can react. We must do all we can to slow the spread of Omicron.
The following additional measures come into effect on Saturday, December 18 at 8 a.m. and will continue until January 8, 2022:
- Personal gatherings are limited to 10 people, plus members of your household. Islanders should have 10 stable people, not 10 different people every day.
- Long-term care and community care visits have been adjusted to allow three care partners, plus three designated visitors with physical distancing.
- Strict physical distance between people from different households is required for organized organizations, events, places, businesses and gatherings.
- Physical distancing is now going to be a legal requirement, not just a recommendation, up to a maximum of 50% of capacity at retail and vax pass events, including theaters, gyms, community gatherings , casinos, etc.
- Restaurants and eating establishments must maintain six feet between tables and continue to require proof of vaccination for customers.
- The mask is required by all customers except when actively eating or drinking.
- The maximum size of a table in a catering establishment will be 10 people.
- There must be no dancing at any event and karaoke is not allowed.
- All indoor sports and recreational activities are suspended for Island children under the age of 18, and this includes all organized sports, tournaments, competitions, games, team training and practice.
Religious services can go ahead as planned during the Christmas season, but they must meet masking, reuniting, and physical distancing requirements.
“These are not the messages we want to get across. While we have been successful in containing COVID-19 to date, we will not be able to contain the spread of the Omicron variant in the same way, ”Morrison said.
“We must anticipate that the Omicron will place significant strain on the healthcare system and the public healthcare system, both of which are already fragile.”
Morrison says the province needs to take swift and decisive action now to have time to learn more about the Omicron variant in the coming weeks. She outlined the following steps:
- We need to reduce our number of close contacts by at least 50 percent.
- We need more children, ages five to 11, immunized.
- We need more eligible people to receive their third dose of vaccine.
- We must stress the requirement for people from different households to remain physically distant.
The majority of recent cases on the island are linked to displacement, directly or indirectly. Morrison says some are close contacts of previous cases and for others there is no connection to travel or other cases, meaning there is community spread.
“Given the volume of new cases, we will need to adjust the way we conduct contact tracing. We will focus on making initial contact with new cases and close contact to provide isolation and testing instructions. We may need to forgo full contact tracing and assume that there is widespread community transmission at some point, ”Morrison said.
Over the past few days, Morrison says public health has seen COVID-19 spread very quickly and, at times, with very little contact.
“Like the other provinces, we are going through a very difficult time, with great potential to strain all aspects of our health care system and disrupt the province in general. We know the Omicron variant is highly transmissible and, like other provinces, we are seeing a rapid increase in cases, ”Morrison said.
“Many people infected with Omicron are symptomatic and it is too early to say if we will see hospitalizations and intensive care admissions. “