P.E.I. to test all travellers arriving at Charlottetown airport; no new cases
HALIFAX -- Prince Edward Island health officials are reporting no new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Two previously reported cases are now considered recovered, dropping the number of active cases in the province to one.
Prince Edward Island has identified a total of 115 positive cases of the virus since the pandemic began. As of Tuesday, 113 of those cases are considered recovered, and the province currently has two active cases of COVID-19.
As of Tuesday, P.E.I. has completed 94,192 negative tests.
TESTING TO BEGIN AT CHARLOTTETOWN AIRPORT
Beginning Tuesday, P.E.I. will offer testing to any travellers arriving at the Charlottetown airport, as part of a four week pilot project.
"This project will allow us to assess the feasibility and sensitivity of the rapid test for travelers arriving in P.E.I," chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said during a news update on Tuesday.
Morrison explained that two swabs will be taken from each traveller - one will be for a rapid test, while the other will be sent to P.E.I.'s provincial lab for confirmation.
This will not change the mandatory 14-day self isolation requirement for anyone travelling from outside of the province.
"This four week project will help to inform inform P.E.I.’s approach to testing, including the use of rapid tests in the coming weeks and months, with a goal of earlier detection of positive cases," said Morrison. "Especially with the variants of concern in the country, we want to identify as quickly as possible any positive COVID test and variant of concern,"
Passengers will not have to wait for test results, and the testing on arrival will fill the requirement for individuals who are required to be tested at day zero to one of arrival on the island.
CHANGES TO TESTING FOR ROTATIONAL WORKERS
Effective March 1, rotational workers, truck druivers and work isolators who regularly travel off the island will be tested every five days, instead of seven days, or as close to that as their work schedule permits.
"We continue to consider options to tighten up testing and isolation requirements to further reduce the risk of importation and to allow for early detection of cases," said Morrison.
Work isolators who travel to P.E.I. from outside the Maritime provinces will be tested every second day.
P.E.I. residents and non-residents who are in self-isolation after travelling outside the Maritime provinces will be tested on days zero to one, four to six and nine to eleven.
P.E.I. UNLIKELY TO REJOIN ATLANTIC BUBBLE UNTIL APRIL
During Tuesday's news update, Morrison said P.E.I. has no plans to rejoin the Atlantic bubble at this time.
"There are a number of criteria we are looking at, including the risk of importation, even from outside the Maritimes, of variant strains...So we are wanting to minimize that risk of importation into not just our province but into the region," said Morrison. "It will likely be six weeks before we are into early April, but I am very hopeful."
The four Atlantic provinces formed their so-called bubble last July to allow residents to travel freely within the region, while people visiting from outside were required to isolate for 14 days.
P.E.I. temporarily pulled out of the Atlantic bubble along with Newfoundland and Labrador on Nov. 23, 2020. The pair were later joined by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
UPDATE ON VACCINES
As of Saturday, 11,630 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to P.E.I. residents, including 5,163 second doses.
Morrison says coommunity vaccine clinics started operating Monday for residents aged 80 and over who are living in their own homes or with relatives, with 150 people receiving shots at the Charlottetown clinic on Monday. Clinics in Montague and Summerside opened Tuesday.
Morrison also said that rotational workers and truck drivers who have registered with the province will soon be contacted with appointment dates for their COVID-19 vaccinations.
COVID ALERT APP
Canada's COVID-19 Alert app is available in Prince Edward Island.
The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Prince Edward Island provides a list of possible COVID-19 symptoms on their website, which include:
- new or worsening cough
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- sore throat
- runny nose, sneezing, congestion
- muscle/joint/body aches
- feeling unwell/unusual tiredness
- acute loss of sense of smell or taste
Other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea have been reported, but typically along with other COVID-19 symptoms, and may be seen more often in children.