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P.E.I. to increase gathering limits as province enters Step 2 next week


Prince Edward Island will increase gathering limits as the province enters Step 2 of its Moving On plan next week.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says Step 2 will take effect March 17 at 12:01 p.m.

Morrison made the announcement Tuesday during a news conference about COVID-19 in Charlottetown.

The move will bring the following changes:

  • personal gatherings can have 20 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
  • organized gatherings can have up to 75 per cent capacity with adequate room for physical distancing.
  • fitness facilities, retail stores, museums, casinos and libraries can open at 75 per cent capacity.
  • weddings, funerals and other receptions will be permitted to have up to 100 attendees.
  • organized sport and recreation activities can have a maximum of 100 participants interacting over the course of the day.
  • COVID-19 screening at points of entry will become randomized.

Morrison says she expects the province to enter the third and final step of its Moving On plan on or before April 7.


Morrison also announced 704 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the number of total active cases in the province to 4,596.

Over the last seven days there has been an average of 506 new cases per day on P.E.I.

P.E.I. reported no new deaths Tuesday.


Morrison said Health P.E.I. testing clinics are strained. Last week 3,000 tests were conducted at clinics — an average of 1,850 tests per day, and an increase of 30 per cent over the previous week. At points of entry to P.E.I., 200 people tested positive for COVID-19.

The province says 24.5 per cent of COVID-19 tests came back positive — a nearly four per-cent increase over last week.

In an effort to take pressure off the testing system, eligibility for testing will change immediately.

Morrison said close contacts must monitor for symptoms, but only need to get tested if they are symptomatic and live or work in a high-risk setting.

That includes:

  • heath-care workers
  • first responders
  • staff and residents of long-term care and community care facilities
  • residents and members of First Nations communities
  • correctional staff and offenders
  • staff and residents of shelters and transitional housing
  • staff and residents of mental health and addictions facilities
  • essential workers approved under the test-to-stay policy

Close contacts who are not symptomatic and do not live or work in a high-risk setting must monitor for symptoms, but do not need to get tested.

Morrison said, if a close contact develops symptoms they do not need to get tested, but should assume they have COVID-19 and isolate for seven days if fully vaccinated, or 10 days if not fully vaccinated.

Exceptions to the new rules are:

  • people 50 years old and up
  • people who are pregnant
  • children under the age of five
  • people 18 years old and up who have underlying medical conditions.

Morrison said the changes are also being made to better identify people who are high risk and could benefit from additional COVID-19 treatments like Paxlovid, an antiviral medication developed by Pfizer to treat the virus.


There are currently two outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the province — the Summerset Manor in Summerside and the Garden Home in Charlottetown.

There are currently 42 outbreaks at early childhood centres in the province.

Of those:

  • 27 are open
  • 10 are modified or have limited services
  • five are closed


Morrison acknowledged families are excited for next week’s March break, and is asking students in grades K to 12 get tested three times that week using the rapid antigen tests given to them by the province.

When students return to class on March 21, Morrison said the following changes will be in place:

  • cohorts in grades K to 9 will increase to 100
  • schools will no longer monitor and contact close contacts of positive cases
  • masks will still be required in schools, but will change in the future to be consistent with the rules for the general public Top Stories

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